Posts Tagged ‘Sicily’


With summer fast approaching in Australia, my thoughts go back to our summer in Sicily and in particular, Favignana, where this photo was taken.
Favignana is the largest of the Egadi Islands and an easy day trip from Trapani. I’d love to return for longer and explore the island and its hidden bays. One day!

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It’s time to leave Sicily!
The history, the contrasting landscapes, the people and the food have been amazing.
We’ve loved every minute of our trip.
Here are some of our memories.

Iconic Etna was erupting whilst we were in Sicily. Smoke plumes wafted over the sky for days

Mt Etna, Sicily

Donald, our trusty Fiat Doblo, took us everywhere!

Fiat Doblo in Scicli, Sicily

From stunning Siracusa, with it’s maze of alleyways……

Siracusa, Sicily

Where laundry fluttered in the breeze……

Drying denim in Siracusa, Sicily

To the fishing villages of the south……

Fishing boats, Sicily

Where the three wheeled Apè was constantly in use……

Apè in Mazzara, Sicily

From mountains villages, where rooftops created their own memory…….

Roof tops in Sicily

To the clear blue waters of San Vito lo Capo……

San Vito lo Capo, Sicily

Through fields of flowers……

Olive trees and poppies in Sicily

Dotted with stone walls……

Stone walls in Sicily

Past vineyards……

Grape vines in Sicily

Spotting wild fennel growing everywhere……

Wild fennel in Sicily

To the Nebrodi mountains to see the famous black pigs.

Black pigs of the Nebrodi Mountains in Sicily

We loved the markets with all the fabulous selection of fresh food and fish

Ballaro Market, Palermo

Tasty Pachino tomatoes
Pachino Tomatoes, Sicily

Blood Oranges

Blood oranges, Sicily

Choose your fish.


With raw ingredients of this quality, we ate at fabulous restaurants, from simple trattorias to Michelin starred restaurants.

Star treatment at La Madia in Licata

La Madia, Sicily

Simple, stunning seafood antipasti at Sakalleo in Scoglitti

Seafood antipasti at Sakalleo in Scoglitti

Sicily’s own pasta with sardines at Duomo in Ragusa.

Pasta wih sardines, fennel and pine nuts at Duomo in Ragusa

Stunningly tomato salad with pasta and mussels at La Conchiglietta in Marzamemi


Amazing antipasti selection at Zia Pina in Palermo


Zuppe di Mare at Per Bacco in Siracusa

Zuppe di mare at Per Bacco in Siracusa, Sicily

Pane cunzato at Da Alfredo in Lingua, Salina

Pane cunzato at Da Alfredo in Lingua, Salina

Local festivals were a highlight.
La Festa di Capperi in Pollara, Salina

La Festa di Capperi in Pollara, Salina

La Festa di San Giorgio in Modica

La Festa di San Giorgio in Modica

Meeting friendly locals who were always wanting to know where we were from, what we were doing and where we were going.


Beautiful Marino in Trapani

Marino the net repairer in Trapani, Sicily

Making cheese with Guilio in the Madonie Mountains

Making cheese with Guilio in tbe Madonie Mountains, Sicily

Everywhere we went, we were surrounded by history

Golden mosaics at Monreale Cathedral, Palantine Chapel in Palermo, Piazza Armerina and the Duomo in Cefalu

Mosaics in the Monreale Cathedral, Sicily

Modica- one of the many Baroque towns of South East Sicily

Modica, Sicily

Temple ruins at Segesta, Selinute and Agrigento

Temple at Agrigento, Sicily

Lets not forget the sweet treats

Granita ni Sciacca


Gelato con brioche in Palermo, Sicily

And the best- Cannolo

Cannolo at Mazzara in Palermo

Thankyou Sicily
We’ll be back!

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The sweet treats of Sicily shine in Palermo.
Here, we have been constantly tempted by some of the best cakes, pastries and desserts in Sicily

Pasticceria Cappello, near the Porta Nuova gate, is in the perfect position for a quick stop after visiting the Palazzo dei Normanni or before catching the bus to Monreale.

Inside this unassuming shop are myriads of taste sensations

Pasticceria Cappello, Palermo

Pasticceria Cappello

Cappello are famous for their Torta Setteveli, the cake of seven layers named after Salome’s dance of the seven veils for Herod. A chocolate overload, it is made by alternating different layers of chocolate and hazelnut, mousse and a combination of these. Pistachio and strawberry cakes are also available but the chocolate is the best!

Setteveli at Pasticceria Cappello in Palermo

Strawberry, Pistachio and Chocolate Setteveli

Setteveli at Pasticceria Cappello in Palermo

Torta Setteveli

Cassatinas are smaller versions of cassata. They are perfect for one person to enjoy the taste of this sicilian cake made from sponge filled with ricotta and then covered with pistachio paste.

Cassatina at Pasticceria Cappello in Palermo


I love seeing the colourful marzipan fruits displayed.
Known here as Frutta di Martorana, the name originated from the Church of Martorana in Palermo when nuns from the nearby Benedictine monastery used these fruits of marzipan to decorate the bare trees in the garden of the convent for the visit of an important person.
The fruits are so realistic. It is hard to believe that this is almond mixture shaped and painted with food colouring to resemble the different fruits

Frutta di Martorana at Pasticceria Cappello in Palermo

Frutta di Martorana - Marzipan fruits

Other sweet treats at Cappello include

Crostatine di Fragola-Strawberry tarts at Pasticceria Cappello, Palermo

Crostatine di Fragola - Strawberry Tarts

I was also tempted by one of the tiny fruit jellies. Thank heavens for the smaller tastes that Cappello make. Pure fruit heaven.

Fruit jellies at Pasticceria Cappello in Palermo

Different flavoured fruit jellies

Jam conserves at Pasticceria Cappello, Palermo

Love the packaging on the conserves

Chocolate meringue cake at Pasticceria Capello in Palermo

Chocolate and meringue

Not far from Teatro Massimo is another well known pastry shop, Mazzara

Mazzara is famous for their cannoli, so I had to try one!!
Cannolo is one of the most famous sweet treats in Sicily. I’ve never tasted a bad cannolo but there is something special about Mazzaras’ cannolo

Cannolo at Mazzara in Palermo

Cannolo at Mazzara

Cannoli and Beigne at Mazzara in Palermo

Cannoli and Bigne

Cassata, Cannoli and Bigne at Mazzara in Palermo

Which one would you choose?

Setteveli at Mazzara in Palermo


Crostatine di Fragola at Mazzara in Palermo

Crostatine di Fragola - Strawberry Tarts

Let’s not forget gelato!
Enjoyed at any time of day, Palermo’s best are eaten ‘con brioche’

Mini strawberry gelati cones at Pasticerria Capello in Palermo

Mini strawberry gelati cones at Pasticerria Cappello

Gelato con brioche, Palermo

Gelato con brioche

Pasticceria Cappello
Via Colonna Rotta,68
Pasticceria Cappello

Pasticceria Mazzara
Via Generale Magliocca,15

Pasticceria Alba
Piazza don Bosco,7
Pasticceria Alba

Pasticceria Oscar
Via Mariano Migliacco,39
Pasticceria Oscar

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The Palatine Chapel in the Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo is one site you should not miss.

When the first of the Norman rulers, Roger II came to power, he restored the palace, originally built in the 9th century for the Arab emirs, and built the Palantine Chapel.
Though it was finished in 1140, the decoration of the interior took a lot longer. The fabulous mosaics were finished at varying times. Over the years, and with successive rulers, the chapel has been restored and the mosaics renewed, the latest being the mosaics outside the chapel which are 19th century

Mosaics outside the entrance to the Palatine Chapel in Palermo

Mosaics outside the entrance

Closeup of mosaics outside the Palantine Chapel in Palermo

Closeup of the mosaics outside the entrance

Inside, fabulous mosaics, a painted honeycomb wooden roof and marble decoration on the lower walls show the mix of the Arab-Norman-Byzantine style of the 12th century

The large mosaic icons of the central apse and cupola (dome) both represent Christ the Pantocrator
In the main apse, Christ appears above the Virgin Mary with St Peter and St Paul in the side apses

View of the main apse and side apses in the Palantine Chapel, Palermo

View of the mosaics in the three apses

Christ the Pancrator icon in the main apse of the Palantine Chapel, Palermo

Christ the Pancrator icon in the main apse

Whilst in the cupola of the sanctuary, Christ appears with angels, archangels and prophets with the Apostles in the four corners

Christ the Pancrator icon in the cupola of the Palantine Chapel

Christ the Pancrator with Angels and Archangels in the cupola

The nave mosaics depict scenes from the lives of St Peter and St Paul as well as scenes from the Old Testament

Christ with St Peter and St Paul in the Palantine Chapel in Palermo

Christ with St Peter and St Paul

Mosaics in the nave of the Palantine Chapel in Palermo

Mosaics in the nave

In the nave stands a 12th-century, fifteen foot high, Paschal candelabra carved with figures, wild animals, and acanthus leaves.

Carved figures on the paschal candelabra in the Palantine Chapel in Palermo

Carved figures on the paschal candelabra

Painted ceiling in the Palantine Chapel in Palermo

Painted honeycomb ceiling

Today, the Palazzo dei Normanni is the seat of Sicily’s regional govenment

The Appartamenti Reali (Royal Apartments) are on the second floor. Even though the Palazzo was rebuilt in Spanish times, the Sala di Ruggerio (Roger’s Hall) remains covered with mosaics depicting hunting and animal scenes as it did in Roger’s day

The Sala di Ercole (Hall of Hercules), where the Sicilian Parliament now sits, is just as it was when used in the Middle Ages.

This floor is only open on Monday and Friday when Parliament does not meet.
Check the opening hours before you visit

On the walk back, you will pass the Cathedral of Palermo. As a result of additions, alterations and renovations over the years, this 12th century Duomo now incorporates many different architectural styles.

Cathedral of Palermo

Cathedral of Palermo

Another view of the Cathedral of Palermo

Another view of the Cathedral

Via Principe di  Belmonte is a pretty street, closed to traffic with flower vendors,bars and restaurants spilling into the centre. We were here for dinner at Gigi Mangia but as Caffe Spinnato was over the road, we stopped for a quick aperitivo

On a beautiful night, sitting outside was the place to be. The restaurant service was perfect and the food matched.

La Cassata di Pesce Spada at Gigi Mangia, Palermo

La Cassata di Pesce Spada

Fantasmagorica-pasta with sea urchin, mussels and prawns at Gigi Mangia in Palermo

Fantasmagorica-pasta with sea urchin, mussels and prawns. Delicious

Grilled Spigola with tomato and olives at Gigi Mangia in Palermo

Grilled Spigola with tomato and olives



Gigi Mangia
Via Principe di Belmonte, 104d
Tel: +39 091 587651
Gigi Mangia

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It was time to explore another of Palermo’s markets – the Ballarò Market

This 1000 year old market is hidden in side streets around Piazza Carmine, in the old part of town between Via Marqueda and Corso Tukory.

On first glance, you notice the sea of umbrellas and tarpaulins, mainly red, covering the stalls

Ballaro Market, Palermo

Ballaro Market

Ballaro Market, Palermo

As with the Capo Market, locals shop here for new seasons fruit and vegetables, cheeses, spices, fresh fish and all cuts of meat.

Welcome to the meat market, Ballaro market, Palermo

Welcome to the meat market

Cherries under the red glow of the Ballaro Market, Palermo

Cherries under the red glow of the market umbrellas

Tenerumi are the vines, leaves and tendrils of a cucuzza, a long, thin, sicilian squash. They are often used in pasta dishes or soup.

Cucuzza - Ballaro Market , Palermo


Tenerumi - Ballaro Market, Palermo


Lumache - Ballaro Market, Palermo

Lumache (snails)

Ricotta - Ballaro Market, Palermo


Ricotta fresca with olives, Ballaro Market in Palermo

Ricotta fresca with olives and pistachio

Anchovies - Ballaro Market, Palermo


Fishmonger in Ballaro Market, Palermo

Swordfish & Tuna at the Fishmonger's

Sausages - Ballaro Market, Palermo

Sausage decoration

The market is also a street eaters delight.
Pane con panelle, arancine, pane cu’ la meuza and sfincione are readily available

In the middle of the market, this panelle stall does a roaring trade. The panelle, which are slices of a dough made from chick peas are deep fried along with aubergine slices, and then put into the freshest panini to make a stunning roll.
You must try one!

Panelle stand at the Ballaro Market in Palermo

Panelle stand

Deep frying panelle in Ballaro Market, Palermo

Deep frying panelle

Pane con panelle - Ballaro Market, Palermo

Pane con panelle - delicious!

Pane ca’ meuza is another popular snack. For this, the bread roll is filled with beef spleen and topped with grated caciocavallo cheese.
Not for me, but they are very popular.

Pane ca' meusa

Ready for the pane

Just outside the market, this sfincione cart was hoping for business. Sfincione are slices of focaccia like base topped with a mixture of tomato and herbs

Sfincione cart, Palermo

Sfincione cart

These vendors were enjoying a quiet moment playing the Italian card game, Scopa, which is all about taking tricks.

Playing the Italian card game Scopa in Palermo

Playing Scopa

It’s easy when you can bring your own table!

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The seaside suburb of Mondello is about a thirty minute bus ride or twenty minute taxi from Palermo

Mondello used to be a fishing village but is now a suburb of tree lined streets and art nouveau inspired villas.

Fishing boats at Mondello

Fishing boats in front of the Piazza

The sandy beaches of the beautiful, long curved bay are taken up with rows of pale blue and pink changing cabins that are often rented for the summer.

Beach cabins at Mondello

Beach changing cabins

Rows of beach cabins at Mondello

Rows of beach cabins

In between the cabins are a few private beach clubs where you can rent an umbrella and lounge.

Private beach club at Mondello

Private beach club

Street vendors line the kerb selling everything from hot dogs to arancini, panelle fritters, granite and gelati

Panelle seller in Mondello

Panelle vendor

On a pier in the centre of the bay is the art nouveau building known as the Charleston. Now restored, it’s restaurant, Le Terrazze, offers stunning views over the bay.

The Charleston in Mondello

The Charleston

View of Mondello with the Charleston and Mt Pellegrino in the background

View of Mondella with the Charleston and Mt Pellegrino in the background

Restaurants and shops surround the piazza near the boat harbour.
From the terrace at Da Calagero, we could watch the comings and goings whilst enjoying a plate of fresh mussels.

Mussels at Da Calogero in Mondello

Tasty fresh mussels

Next door, Da Calagero’s pizzeria, looked inviting

Da Calogero Pizzeria, Mondello

Da Calogero Pizzeria

Back in the city, it was time for a gelato
I had read about Le Cremolose and their fabulous not to be missed cremolosa, a part gelati, part sorbet and part granita icecream made with fresh fruit or nuts. (Thanks Katie!)
It was easy to find the small kiosk situated in Piazza Gentili, in front of the Giardini Inglese.

Le Cremolose, Palermo

Le Cremolose

The next decision was what flavour to try. Easy… try three!

Fruitta di Bosco, Pesca and Almond cremolose at Le Cremolose, Palermo

Fruitta di Bosco, Pesca and Almond Cremolose

That night we headed to Trattoria Piccolo Napoli for dinner.

Piccolo Napoli is one of Palermo’s oldest seafood restaurants. The family are proud of their history, so much so, that an old family photo covers the menu

Family photo on the menu at Piccolo Napoli, Palermo

Family photo on the menu

There were quite a few families here which was great to see. All were enjoying the beautifully simple, fresh, seasonal food that Piccolo Napoli is known for.
The chick pea fritters (panelle) tempted my husband whilst I chose my favourite Gamberi rossi, which were delicious

Gamberi Rossi at Picolo Napoli, Palermo

Gamberi Rossi

Panelle at Piccolo Napoli, Palermo

Panelle fritters

I was very tempted to have the Spaghetti with Riccio (sea urchin) but instead decided to go straight to secondi. There was a fabulous selection of seafood to choose from that would be simply grilled.

Seafood selection at Piccolo Napoli, Palermo

Seafood selection


We couldn’t resist sharing a cassata

Cassata at Picolo Napoli, Palermo


A glass of limoncello and Nonna’s home made biscuits finished a great dinner.


Piccolo Napoli
Piazzetta Mulino a Vento,24
Borgo Vecchia, Palermo
Tel: 091 320431

Da Calagero
Via Torre di Mondello,22
Tel: 091 6841333
Trattoria Da Calogero

Le Cremolose
Piazza Alberigo Gentili,16
Le Cremolose

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This little piggy went to……….. the Capo Market

Tucked in behind the Cathedral and Teatro Massimo, the Capo market sells everything you could want. The stalls display a wonderful selection of fruit and vegetables, fresh fish from all parts of Sicily, local meats and an amazing array of dried fruits, nuts and spices.

Capo Market in Palermo

Capo Market

Capo Market in Palermo

Market stall

Everyone is very friendly. One lady took me over to a stall to show me the baby eggplant and tell me her favourite way of cooking them.

Eggplants in Capo market, Palermo


Artichokes in Capo market, Palermo


Capsicums in Capo market, Palermo


Borlotti beans at Capo market in Palermo

Borlotti beans

I always love the displays of fresh fish. Price cards often tell which part of Sicily the fish were caught

Fish display in Capo market, Palermo

Fish display

Fish display in Capo market, Palermo

Fish display

Gamberoni, gamberi and scampi at Capo Market in Palermo

Gamberoni, gamberi and scampi

Both the fruit and fish vendors put everything in paper cones


Cutting the swordfish in Capo Market, Palermo

Cutting the huge swordfish

Filetted sardines in Capo Market, Palermo

Filetted sardines

At Pescheria Isgrò, there is a fabulous choice of prepared seafood dishes including involtini di spatola and spada, polpette of sardines and swordfish, stuffed calamari and sarde a beccafico (sardines with a breadcrumb and pinenut stuffing as well as a fabulous looking marinara mix

Prepared seafood choices at Capo market in Palermo

What's for dinner tonight?

Sarde a Beccafico ready for dinner in Capo Market, Palermo

Sarde a Beccafico ready for dinner

Seafood marinara - Capo Market, Palermo

Fabulous marinara mix

Prefer meat! Try the sausages.

Italian sausages in Capo market, Palermo

Italian sausages

Spices, dried fruit and beans have been sold for a long time from Antica Drogheria di Dainotti.

Spices, dried beans and nut display at Capo market in Palermo

Spices, dried beans and nut display

New seasons stonefruit had arrived

Plums in Capo market, Palermo

Tree ripened plums

New season's stone fruit in Capo market, Palermo

Great display of stone fruit

Cherries in Capo market, Palermo

Cherries anyone?

In the middle of the market is the Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione al Capo.
Pop inside to see the spectacular marble work

Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo, Palermo

Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo

Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo, Palermo

Intricate marble work at the Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo

Wandering back through the streets, we couldn’t resist stopping at Bar Touring to try their famous Arancine Bomba, a huge fried ball of saffron rice filled with ragu sauce

Arancini from Bar Touring in Palermo


Of course we had to finish with an icecream!



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