From mosaics to majolica to il mare, Musement shares ten of the most Instagrammable spots in Palermo, Sicily’s exhilarating capital city.
If you’ve traveled to Sicily, then you understand all the fuss is about. If you haven’t visited this southern Italian island, you’ll totally get it once you’ve been. So, with that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most Instagrammable places in Palermo, the vibrant capital with a history that runs millennia deep. Here’s a look at ten of the city’s most Instagrammable spots.
1. Palermo Cathedral
This magnificent mosque turned cathedral features various architectural styles from additions completed following its 12th-century consecration as a Catholic church. From the striking exterior to the wonders inside, the UNESCO-protected structure boasts plenty of astounding visual fodder for your Instagram feed.
2. Piazza Pretoria
Dubbed Piazza della vergogna (the square of shame) for the 16 nude statues that surround the center fountain and/or the amount of money spent to realize it, Piazza Pretoria dates back to the 16th century. In addition to the statues and fountain, other notable features include the 14th-century town hall, the 16th-century Church of Saint Catherine, and two magnificent baronial palaces — start snapping!
3. Quattro Canti
While its official name is Piazza Vigliena, Quattro Canti (four corners) is so-called for the four prominent Baroque facades. These contain four fountains with statues representing the four seasons, Sicily’s four Spanish kings of Sicily, and the city’s four patron saints: Cristina, Ninfa, Olivia, and Agata. While fitting the entire octagonal piazza into a single frame isn’t easy, Quattro Canti plenty of angles once you start getting creative behind the lens.
4. Santa Maria dello Spasimo
Santa Maria of “the Fainting” isn’t known for its magnificent art, glittering mosaics, or mesmerizing ceiling art. In fact, the church doesn’t even have a ceiling. Santa Maria dello Spasimo, named for how Mary fainted when she saw Jesus suffering on the cross, is pretty much a skeleton of what should have been. Work began in the 16th century, but the Ottoman raids prevented its completion. Visitors can walk through the Gothic foundation and snap some eerie pics with apocalyptic vibes.
5. Mondello Beach
One not-to-miss Palermo neighborhood is Mondello, home to the city’s crystal-clear aquamarine beach. Whether it’s beach season or not, it’s still worth a visit to stroll around the coastline and stop for a bite at one of the local seafood spots.
6. Mercato del Capo
While Palermo is home to several open-air markets, Mercato del Capo in the historic center gets our pick. Lively personalities peddle everything from colorful produce to sparkling seafood to crispy street food, there’s just as much to snap as there is to eat.
7. The Majolica Museum
Book your visit to this must-see museum in advance. The owner displays his private collection of more than 6,000 of these exquisite hand-painted tiles. They’re from Sicily and Naples and span the 15th to 20th centuries. The museum and displays are just as photogenic as captivating.
8. Rinascente Terrace
Head to the fifth floor of Rinascente department store and make a beeline for the terrace, where you can snap an aerial view of Piazza San Domenico below as well as city panoramas that reach the horizon.
9. Franco ‘U Vastiddaru
Sicily wouldn’t be Sicily without food porn. Excellent food abounds and pretty much anywhere you stop and anything you taste warrants a photo, especially Franco ‘U Vastiddaru, a beloved street food joint. Its signature sandwich is pani câ meusa, boiled then lard-fried veal young and spleen encased in a pillowy sesame seed topped bun. While not the most visually stunning, it’s certainly provocative (and delicious). The pane e panelle, chickpea fritters in said pillowy sesame-seed-topped bun make for an appetizing shot.
Sicily also wouldn’t be Sicily without elegant Byzantine mosaics. Two of the most exceptional places to snap some are the Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace or Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (La Martorana), a stunning 12th-century church. Take your pick or head to both — you won’t be disappointed.