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Customs and traditions

Palermo is an open air museum; the different architectural styles intermingle through its streets as if it were a history book . This great artistic legacy is the visible testimony to the influences of the various cultures that have lived in it.

Quattro Canti, the epicenter of Palermo’s historic center, is an octagonal square formed by the intersection of two major roads: Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda, which are surrounded by four identical facades adorned with baroque sculptures. The seventeenth century square is also called Il Teatro del sole, since the sun gradually illuminates each part of the square thoughout the day. The four fountains in the square point to the four historic districts: Kalsa to the southeast, Amalfitania to the northeast and Sincaldi Albergheria to the northwest and southwest.

The beauty of this city lies within the chaotic streets, particularly in the Capo district. It is one of the oldest areas of Palermo, and houses a maze of rocks and semi-destroyed churches.The Capo District is an abandoned, quiet location in the center, away from the chaotic and noisy traffic.

Some aspects to consider in Palermo

In the Antica Focacceria .S Francesco, established in 1834, you can taste the rich palermitana gastronomy. Specialties include the "panino meusa", a sandwich made of boiled spleen, lung and liver of bezerro, and the "arancini", an emblem of Sicilian gastronomy. It´s said to be the first local town who refused to pay the "pizzo", a tax that businesses have to give the mafia. Another great place to try the local cuisine is the Vuccira market .Here you can buy fresh produce, eat typical fried food, such as croquettes, fried vegetables, or fried fish, and visit stalls offering the usual panini.

The Opera of Pupi, marionettes consisting of three Sicilian threads representing chivalrous fights, is one of the Sicilian traditions. To learn about the Sicilian puppet theater workshop, which has been a way of life for generations for this family, visit the Cuticchio on Via Bara all'Olivera to admire the collection dating back to the early nineteenth century. To this day, the workshop displays musical instruments, puppets and essence machinery. The Cuticchio is magical! Or visit the Museum of Antonio Pasqualino 4000, which houses a collection of puppets from around the world.

Another great custom is Sicilians coffee, which is always accompanied by a glass of water and ordered at the bar. Keep in mind that ordering table service may increase the cost by 50%.

Finally, a curiosity we discovered in the award-winning documentary "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" is a typical hand gesture in the shape of horns, called "malocchio". The documentary explains the origin of this superstitious gesture which is typical amongst older Sicilian women in the street in order to avoid the evil eye. Heavy metal fans started making this gesture in concerts after it was introduced by Ronnie James DIO.

A place well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.

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