puppets, balconies, and an open market: downtown palermo {day two}

Today I’ll be sharing the final day we spent in downtown Palermo. This day was my favorite, and you’ll see why in a little bit…

I love this picture. It captures so much: the balconies, the flowers, the sleeping dog!

This building is gorgeous. I fell in love with the design here; more specifically, the balconies. Every. Single. Building. has them. They’re all different and so charming. I wish they were more common in US cities.

The first stop we made this day was to the Museo Internazionale di Marionette. No one in my group was particularly excited to go, but by the end, I think we all enjoyed it. The collection of marionettes was so impressive!

This is one of the very oldest puppets they had.

This room was filled with a million eyes staring right at you!

We got to hold one of the marionettes, and they are SO heavy! It blows my mind how people can put on entire performances holding them.

This piano-playing one is funny.

These puppets, made out of only recycled materials, were really cool.

The photos you’re seeing are just half of all of the photos I took. Everywhere was so picturesque, and I have about a million more! I love this one so much.

Apparently, this is one of the biggest ficus trees. We randomly came across it while wandering through a park.

This part of the day marks my favorite part of the entire trip.

We came across an open market down a long street. It was close to the downtown shopping area, but it felt like a million miles away as we were walking through. We had some free time after we had quickly walked through, so my aunt and I decided to go back and take our time exploring.

This was a little stand making freshly-squeezed juice from oranges, pomegranates, and lemons. They add it to ice and create the freshest-tasting granita you’ll ever try. There are no machines used here: only their hands, which never stopped to take a break.

I tried the orange…Oh, what I would do to have another cup!

The market was huge, and everything within it was so fresh and cheap!

I wish you could smell this picture.

Rows and rows and rows of produce. Some I had never even seen or heard of before, such as fragoline, or mini strawberries. My aunt and I got a little bucket of big strawberries for only two euro, and they were, by far, the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted.

I love this picture. The street was so narrow, but the people riding motorcycles didn’t let that bother them!

Also, look at the top of the picture. You can see more balconies (!!!), so imagine what it would be like living in one of those apartments. You could walk downstairs every few days and buy the freshest food for all of your meals. What a dream.

Have you ever seen oranges so perfect?

My aunt and I stopped at almost every stand, trying to converse with the locals and sample their items. Unlike the touristy areas and restaurants, barely anyone here spoke English. So, I had to use my beginner Italian skills to try and communicate. Thankfully, I knew my numbers (to negotiate a price) and how to ask for things!

Even though we were both English speakers who clearly didn’t belong there, everyone who we spoke to was so nice and friendly. I asked the man at the olive stand if I could try one, and he gave me a sample and a kind smile without hesitation. For the first time, I truly felt immersed in the Sicilian culture. I instantly fell in love with everything about it: the food, the people, the language. It was the most amazing feeling, and I will never forget it! There really are friendly people everywhere you go.

Now back to reality 🙂

After spending a while strolling down the marketplace, eating strawberries and buying goodies to bring back home (like this pistachio cream), we left the chaos and found ourselves with more time to kill before we had to meet up with the group. The second we walked out of the open market, it felt like we were in a completely different world: the cacophony of Sicilian men shouting at each other about fish and the sweet smell of strawberries and oranges slowly diminished.


We began to walk back to the main square, past rows of little tables set up with the most random antiques, and found my uncle and grandpa. We then decided to get some gelato. I went for the basic flavors in a fancy cone: chocolate and vanilla. If this trip taught me anything it’s that whenever I think I can’t eat anymore, I can. This gelato was huge, and I didn’t think I’d finish it, but I ate the whole thing and even ate some more later on!

From Palermo, we went to a surrounding town (I’ve no idea what the name is, if it even has one other than Palermo!) where we waited to take a tour of a gelateria. We had almost two hours to relax, so we all sat on the grass and bathed in the Italian sun across from the water.

These blue boats are so picturesque. Even boats know how to color coordinate in Italy!

I told you about the balconies. Aghhh they’re so cute!

This is one of my very favorite photos which I actually took on my phone! I just feel like it captures Sicily so well: it’s perfectly imperfect.

My aunt wanted me to take this picture of a cool alleyway 🙂

We took a mini tour of a gelateria and got a sample cup. It was very delicious; I think I got the mango flavor.

We continued to wander while we waited for dinner. This day was full of wandering which is probably why I loved it so much.

A cool silhouette shot.

Balconies, balconies, and more balconies! I admire the European (and Italian) design so much more after this trip. I just love how much history is preserved even in a simple apartment building.

We went to a department store before dinner. This was the view from the top where some of the group sat and relaxed for a while. My friends and I wanted to explore the mall and check out the stores. Maybe it’s because they’re so different from American malls, but I was completely obsessed with everything I saw in there!

For example… an entire section of SMEG products! I have loved SMEG for so long and dream of owning a fridge one day. This, amongst many other things within the mall, made the day 10000x more awesome.

After that, we went to dinner. I don’t have any photos, but I’ll just tell you it was the strangest (and worst) meal we all ate while in Sicily! Despite that, the rest of the day and the good company made up for it. And besides, you can’t complain while in Italy!

I’ll share more tomorrow or Tuesday, but we’ve still got a ways to go! I hope you’re enjoying the series thus far. A presto.