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San Gandolfo Festival
The 7th Wednesday after Easter and the 3rd week end in September
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The Most Holy Crucifix
Starts May 1st
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La Sagra delle Nocciole (The Hazelnut Festival)
Always in August usually after the 15th, a moveable date

Lo Sfoglio
Late August

Santa Lucia
December 13


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Things not to miss in Palermo Part 2

Posted by Suzanne on 31 Jan 2014

This is the second blog in the series, Things not to miss in Palermo. To be seduced by Palermo you must have patience, a desire to discover slowly and most importantly want to hand yourself over. The magnificent chaos and intrigue of this layered port city, with its hidden gems is worth discovery.

Here are 3 more compelling, just as important reasons to discover Palermo: a city that requires the cultivation of the Art of Discovery.


No 1 Teatro Politeama Garibaldi:

On the 27th of January this year at TeatroPoliteama Garibaldi the imaginative and famously flamboyant Italian jazz pianist Stefano Bollani's concert was sold out. Politeama is the home of Sicily’s prestigious symphony orchestra – "Orchestra Sinfonia Siciliana". I have included a video of one of his performances. It is a bit long but if you catch some of it you will see what he is like live.

In 1891 Politeama opened to an enthusiastic audience with a performance of Verdi’s ‘Otello’. It is an extravagant, neoclassical, semicircular building facing Piazza Castelnuovo in the centre of the city with embellishments of triumphant arches, doric and ionic columns, bronzes and images of the circus. It is monumental and has an interior to dazzle – a huge stage curtain with scenes of classicism and mythology, evocative of Sicily’s glorious antiquity.

Set to the rear of Piazza Castelnuovo and well back from the street the detailed, confident extravagance can be easily admired.

If you are in Palermo it is worth asking around what is on at Politeama as it hosts a wide range of spectacular concerts and theatre.


No 2 Mondello - the seafront promenade beach, bronzed bodies and Art Nouveau villas:

Mondello, Palermo’s elegant and fashionable beach suburb only 30 minutes from Palermo’s historic centre started life as a fishing village. It still has its fishermen today but it is more a desirable summer retreat for the Palermitans. It sits at the foot of Monte Pellegrino on a wide bay with clear blue waters where colourful fishing boats are anchored at one end: a long pier and bath house are at the other. The pier is a striking example of Art Nouveau architecture and houses one of Palermo’s most sought after restaurants, “Alle Terrazze”  Walking the streets to enjoy the wonder of some of the best Art Nouveau beachside villas in Sicily after a long lunch is mandatory.

In winter, Mondello takes on a quiet recuperative feel, while in summer, bronzed bodies walk the streets, sit astride vespas, helmetless and sunbathe on the white sand or laze on a beach lounge at the lido: tanned waiters provide towels and take drink and food orders: all this for a few euros.

It has a certain Sicilian, Palermitan charisma and is worth a visit in any season.


No3   The Sicilian Art Nouveau Villa –Villino Florio all’Olivuzza and an Italian fabric shop over the road:

Villino Florio is pure art. It is folly like and above all simply beguiling. The gothic, romantic and baroque forms made of grey stone with perfect Art Nouveau interiors set in a Mediterranean garden make this one of Palermo’s jewels. It is in the Zisa area of Palermo and is located in 21 Viale Regina Margherita and was designed by the talented Sicilian architect Ernesto Basile in 1899 for the famous Palermitan family: the Florios. Villino Florio can be reached on foot in 20 minutes from Politeama. Take Via Dante Alighieri, a street with some striking Art Nouveau villas and enjoy these villas as you make your way to Villino Florio.

Its opening hours can be haphazard so check these out beforehand. If closed, still go and stand in front of this charming villa and enjoy its form. If the gates are open wander in and walk the garden, and take a look through doors and windows.

A neighbour to Villino Florio’s back entrance in Via Antonino Pascuilli is the intriguing textile shop, Gibetex owned by  the eccentric and flamboyant Mira. The entry is unassuming but once inside the walls are stacked from floor to ceiling with Italy’s finest textiles. Mira’s fabrics hang in some of Sicily’s most fabulous and eclectic palazzos and villas. She also decorates Palermo’s vibrant churches: draping them in fabrics for weddings and baptisms. Ring the bell and ask to have a look and you may not be able to leave without buying a sublime piece of Italian fabric.





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