The city

Villa Whitaker

It is also known as Villa Malfitano; it was strongly desired by Giuseppe Whitaker, one of the most important person in the anglo- palermitan society in the end of the 19th century. The Villa symbolizes the lively palermitan culture as well asthe many elegant villas built in Palermo’s “golden age”, a period in which the city reached its utmost splendour. Beyond the iron gate there is an amazing avenue full of monumental and exotic trees. Giuseppe Whitaker was keen on botanic, ornitology and above all on archeology in fact, he gave imput to the discovery of Mozia where he built his extraordinary house – museum. He filled Villa Malfitano with lots of collections: corals, tapestry, books, antique work of art and all the finest and rarest things that he could find. It is possible to visit Villa Whitaker from Monday to Saturday Tickets Tour of the upper floor from 6 to 9 € Students under 18 3-6€

The Castle of Zisa

It was the summer residence of the kings and it is a beautiful example of norman architecture enriched with arabian decorations and engineerings such as the air exchange system in the rooms. It is divided into three floors: on the ground floor there’s a long vestibule that goes along the main frontage on which there is the big fountain hall, the most beautiful architectural element of the building. The fontain has on its top a golden mosaic panel, the water spouts out beneath and crosses all the room. It is also possible to see the remains of frescos of the 7th century. The first floor is smaller than the ground floor beacause its surface is largely occupied by the high fountain and vestibule that reach the upper floor. Probably this floor meant to be the residence for women. The second floor used to have a big hall as large as the fountain hall and a beautiful viewpoint. Visit the Castle of Zisa from Monday to Saturday from 9.00 to 19.00 (last admission at 18.30) Sunday and holidays from 9.00 to 13,30 (last admission 13.00) Ticket €6 Reduced ticket €3

Massimo Theatre

Massimo Vittorio Emanuele theatre of Palermo is the biggest opera theatre in Italy and one of the biggest in Europe second to the Opera National of Paris and the Staatsoper of Vienna. It is endowed with many elegant halls, galleries and monumental stairways. The works started in 1875 and continued with the architect Giovan Battista Filippo Basile. After his death, his son Ernesto continued the works. On the 16th of May 1897 the Theatre was opened with Falstaff by G. Verdi. The external part follows the taste of the period in fact, it is in Neoclassical style while inside it is in Liberty style. The horseshoe shaped hall has got 5 ranges of loges. The theatre is endowed with a system of natural conditioning made of some mobile panels which allow a perfect ventilation. The theatre was built on the ruins of an ancient church with its convent of nuns. It’s said that one of the nuns’ ghost can be seen in the backstage and in the basement and whomever does not believe in the legend stumbles upon a specific step at the theatre’s entrance. That’s why it is called “The nun’s step”. Guided tour: everyday from 9.30 to 18.00 from € 5,00 to €8, free for children under 6.

Politeama theatre

PoliteamaGaribaldi Theatre is inPoliteama square in the centre of Palermo. It was built in 1867 by Giuseppe DamianiAlmeyda and it opened in 1874, even if it wasn’tcompleted yet. It was conceived as to be the theatre of people: 5.000 spectators could stay in itshorseshoe shaped hall, finding place in the double range of loges or in the gallery which was divided into two orders. The entrance is characterized by a neoclssical triumphal arch on the top of which there is a bronze sculptural group made by Mario Rutelli. Today the theatre is where the Orchestra SinfonicaSiciliana performs. It can be visited from Monday to Sunday from 9,30 to 14,00. Each visit lasts 30 minutes about. Tickets €5,00 €3,00 (school trips and under 18) Free for children under 6.

Palermo’s open markets

Palermo’s open markets represent the ideal place for a full immersion in the past and in the oldest tradions of palermitan people. The most important open markets of the city are three: “Vucciria”, “Capo” and “Ballarò”. The “Vucciria” market is an agreable blend of voices, smells and noises. A city corner where the time stood still. It is the oldest market of the city. It used to be a market for meat, now it is possible to find also fish and fruits. These products are displayed on peculiar marble slab called “Balata”. The name “Vucciria” comes from the french “Boucherie” as there used to be a slaughterhouse, now there are lots of butcher’s shops. The “Capo” market is a well known market in the city which has its origins in the moslimage. One of its main entrance is “Porta Carini” near the courhouse. It is made of many narrow streets which are crowded by the buyers who are busy to select and bargain over products. The “Ballarò” market is one of the most ancient market of the city. It is regularly attendend by lots of different type of people. It is characterized be the typical “abbanniate”, a particular call of the sellers who want people to buy their products. It is opened all day long, so it is possible to find any type of food either uncooked or cooked as the famous palermitanstreet food which is characterised by boiled potatoes, onions and vegetables, octopus and special fried food called “panelle” made of chickpea flour and “cazzili” made with smash potatoes.