Sicily has a very special feel to it, predominantly rural and somehow stuck in days long past, but the Italian island is much more than just ancient vineyards and olive groves or dry fields and winding country roads. Palermo, the island’s capital, is a lively and thriving city, decidedly metropolitan though perhaps not cosmopolitan.
The city has a fair share of dilapidated old buildings seemingly leaning just a bit too much to the side. Some buildings are completely abandoned. Especially during the afternoon siesta the city can feel like a ghost town. But there is life here. It just moves at a slower pace in Sicily.
Summers in Sicily are infamously hot and humid, and Palermo always seems to get the highest of that stifling heat. Whenever I think of Palermo, I think of those late summer afternoons when you just can’t get away from the heat, not even by taking a cold shower and laying in front of a fan. They may seem too much at that moment, but there is a certain safety in the heat.
Palermo’s Botanical Garden is a haven in the center of the city. The park is filled with beautiful plants and flower arrangements but the true stars are the exquisite marble statues that elevate this park to the level of a great museum.
The garden is a great destination even if you’re not that into marble – it’s a perfect place to cool off under the shade of an old tree, enjoying a cold drink or gelato, or maybe even a glass of local wine.
Many parts of Palermo are a never-ending construction site
It can be easy to forget you’re on an island in Palermo, but the coastline is a great reminder