First Impressions of Palermo

Palermo Travel Book

We had only been in Palermo for about five days, before we began to reach some brash and hasty conclusions about the city. Like most first impressions, these turned out to be largely accurate!

Palermo Painter

Palermo, at least the port-side Vucciria where we lived, is loud. There were times I couldn’t believe the noise. Music was played at incredible volumes by our neighbors, including the 6-year-old below us who danced every night on his balcony in his underwear. People, standing close enough to kiss, shout at each other, because that’s just the way they talk. Perhaps they’re going deaf. That’s it, first impression #1: People in Palermo are going deaf.

Adding to the noise are the constant vrooooms of mopeds, which brings me to first impression #2: Drivers in Palermo want to kill me. Innate survival instincts kicked in immediately after arriving, and quickly became perfectly honed. Without turning my head, I could accurately judge the distance of an approaching vespa, and step swiftly to the side at just the right moment, like a pedestrian matador.

Finally and most importantly, we quickly realized that Palermo would provide an incredible home for the next 91 days. The food, the buildings, the history. And yes, both the noisy street life and the people, who aren’t nearly so bloodthirsty when they’re not behind the wheel.

Sicily Car Rentals

Narrow Street Palermo
Nazi Stuff Palermo
Modern Art Italy
Old Town Palermo
Laundry Service Palermo
Balcon Garden
Balcony Palermo
Dragons in Palermo
Face Palermo Sicily
Eagle Palermo
Green Puke
Hip In Palermo
Horse In Fail
Jesus Palermo
Lion King
One Bike
Palermo Is Watching You
Palermo Secrets
Penis In Palermo
Rome Palermo
Postcards Palermo Sicily
Transportation Palermo
Shopping in Palermo
Snake Kin
Street Light Pole
Religion Sicily
Church Light Palermo Italy
Palermo Hotel

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Angela

    Love this post. The pictures are fantastic. That toilet with curtain in the wind. Those traffic cameras. The back side of the street sign. The faces looking at each other. They go so well with the description of your first impressions and your impressions match mine from when we were there 2 years ago. I love all of that about Palermo. What fun you’re going to have. 

    1. Juergen

      Angela!!! We owe you so much …. eeek! 

      How long did you stay again in Palermo? We want your insider tips, all of them, hehe
      1. Angela

        We didn’t stay long in Palermo. Most of our time was in Catania for a wedding. I wish I could remember the awesome place where we ate in Catania. It was so traditional. Packed with families on a lovely Sunday afternoon. Oh, they gave us a menu but everyone else there was ordering based on what the waiter said was good. I would have preferred what they were having though mine was amazing. Ask for the local fare and don’t let them give you a menu. I’ll see what else I can remember. Catania was surprisingly wonderful. And the bus ride between Catania and Palermo was nice, too.

  2. Marco

    Hi, I’m Marco from Palermo! It was my city for 25 years, now I live in the North of Italy, but it’s always in my heart. It’s great that foreign people have a good memory of Palermo that unlucly has many problems. Life could be better there and I hope that people will learn to respect their own city.

  3. Mari Nicholson

    I’ve just noticed that you give credit for the photos to Mike Powell.  What a brilliant eye he has for a good photograph!  I have browsed through them with envy, reminding myself at every one that I must do better!The accompanying article lived up to the images and thank you for the helpful hints.  I shall be in Palermo and Cefalau in September for the first time, despite four former visits to Sicily.  I like to immerse myself in one area at the time and the previous visits meant spending days in one place.  Now in 16 days I hope to cover a lot of my last bit of unknown Sicily .  I shall take your advice and visit the ceramics village and have what I want to buy (I already know what I want) shipped home.Now for that food!

  4. Joe Kulik

    The Aesthetic Contrast in this photo set is amazing.  You capture the essence of an ancient city where common, everyday people, often living in impoverished conditions, live right next door to architectural and artistic masterpieces. What an Amazing Contrast in the life of everyday Palermo you capture here !!!

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