All you need to know about Palermo

The Teatro Massimo in Palermo offers in November a very reach program of concerts and one ballet. A great opportunity to keep in touch with the theater in time of pandemic. All shows are free of charge, but it is possible to give a donation using credit card or paypal.

Teatro Massimo live streaming: the program

November 14. 7.00 pm – concert

Debussy Fauré Schubert


Claude Debussy
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune

Gabriel Fauré
Pelléas et Mélisande, suite op. 80

Franz Schubert
Symphony No. 8 in B minor D. 759 “Unfinished”

Conductor Omer Meir Wellber

Teatro Massimo Orchestra

November 15, 6.00 pm – concert

Dvorak: Mass in D Major


Antonín Dvořák
Mass in D Major op. 86 for chorus and organ

Conductor Ciro Visco

Soprano Daniela Pedi

Mezzosoprano Carmen Ghegghi

Tenor Mariano Sanfilippo

Bass Cosimo Diano

Organ Salvatore Punturo

Teatro Massimo Chorus

November 19, 7.00 pm – concert

Farewell Symphony


Joseph Haydn
Symphony No.45 Hob:I:45 “Farewell”

Johannes Brahms
Symphony No. 2 in D major op. 73

Conductor Omer Meir Wellber

Teatro Massimo Orchestra

November 25, 7.00 pm – concert

Handel: Water Music


Georg Friedrich Händel
Water Music:
Suite No. 1 in F Major HWV 348
Suite No. 2 in D Major HWV 349
Suite No. 3 in G Major HWV 350

Conductor Ignazio Maria Schifani

Orchestra del Teatro Massimo

November 28, 8.00 pm – concert

Francesco Lanzillotta


Samuel Barber
Adagio for strings op. 11

Francesco Paolo Tosti
Arias for mezzosoprano and orchestra

Richard Wagner
Siegfried-Idyll WWV 103

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Symphony No. 35 in D major K 385 “Haffner”

Conductor Francesco Lanzillotta

Mezzosoprano Marianna Pizzolato

Teatro Massimo Orchestra

November 29, 5.30 pm – Ballet

Romeo e Giulietta

Sergej Prokofiev

Coreographer Davide Bombana

Teatro Massimo Ballet


Palermo Wonders: be ready for your perfect day! 


The historic appointment with the Targa Florio 2020 Classica is back! It is one of the most difficult and fascinating car racing in the world, with all the charm of the glorious past of the Florio’s: the famous family who was protagonist in the Sicilian history and economy for more than two centuries. The Targa Florio Classica is reserved for cars produced until 1977. In the other categories you can admire the most modern cars: the Targa Florio Legend (from 1978 to 1990) and the Targa Florio Gran Turismo (from 1991 to 2019). Very interesting will be also the Ferrari Tribute to Targa Florio, which will collect some of the owners of Ferrari. Also this year Palermo will be the key location of the event, hosting the arrival and departure ceremonies on race days.

Targa Florio 2020: the program

Thursday, October 15

The crews participating in the race will reach Palermo for the technical checks.

Friday, October 16

The historic cars will leave for Marsala and Campobello di Mazara, driving through the Salt Pans area, and then return to Palermo retracing the itinerary of Garibaldi and the Thousand. The locations involved in the race will be Monreale, Altofonte, Partinico, Castellammare del Golfo, Valderice, Trapani, Marsala, Campobello di Mazara, Mazara del Vallo, Castelvetrano, Partanna and Calatafimi.

Saturday, October 17

It will be the day of the Circuito delle Madonie, the mountains east of Palermo, crossing the villages of Caltavuturo, Polizzi Generosa, Collesano and Campofelice di Roccella.

Sunday, October 18

After the adrenaline of the previous days, there will be room for celebration and memory. The competitors who want to try the Favorita Circuit, in a race out of the ranking. The prize-giving ceremony of the winners will follow.

Participants and historic cars

The Targa Florio 2020 continues to be a successful event today: more than 100 crews are registered. The oldest car is from 1929, the Lancia Lambda VIII Series by Olindo Deserti and Maurizio Demarco. The winner of last year’s Targa Florio Classica, Mario Passanante, will also be present with the 1937 Fiat 508C. The Ferrari Tribute will allow to admire the models produced from 1991 to 2019: from the Ferrari 360 Modena to the Ferrari 812 GTS. In the Legend category will run instead the Ferrari GTS Turbo, of 1988, and 308 GTS, of 1980. The other car manufacturers represented are Porsche (with models 911 and 933), Jaguar, Mercedes, Austin Haley, Morris Garages, Riley, Maserati, Bentley and many others.

Targa Florio: the history


The competition is linked to the person of Vincenzo Florio, born in Palermo in 1833. A great sports lover who was one of the first car owners in the city: in his car fleet stood out the Mercedes 60 HP, which accompanied him in his first sports competitions and his successes.

It was Vincenzo Florio who traced the first route on a sheet of paper: Cerda, Caltavuturo, Petralia, Geraci, Castelbuono, Isnello, Collesano, Campofelice: a route free of level crossings, not far from Palermo, 146 km and 900 m long.

The first race took place in 1906 and the first headquarters was the Grand Hotel delle Terme in Termini Imerese. Vincenzo Florio had two large wooden sheds built, used as grandstands and boxes for cars, a wooden overpass to cross the road without hindering the race, a restaurant and a press room equipped with an international telegraph: it was something exceptional, because in 1906 the only international telegraph in Italy was in Milan.

Two music bands entertained the public while waiting for the cars to pass by. Florio had 400 meters of tracks built, connected to the railway line from Palermo to Messina: this facilitated the arrival of the public with the train from Palermo.

On the day of the first race there were about sixteen thousand people, the price of the train ticket was 13 lire and included round trip, return, entrance to the stands and a voucher for breakfast.

The Targa Florio became soon a meeting place for nobles and people of culture: a real social event with Donna Franca Florio, the Countess Morosini, the Countess of Mazzarino, Princess Lanza di Trabia and many other nobles.

Very famous are the names of the drivers who took part in this maifestation in the past: Ferrari, Nuvolari, Cagno, Nazzaro, Chiron, Masetti, Axari, Camopari, Lancia, Varzi.

And still today it is an event of great charm and an extra reason to visit Palermo and its surroundings!

Palermo Wonders: be ready for your perfect day!

Corleone’s tomatoes are a special product you can find in the Sicilian markets from July to October. This is perfect to do one of the most traditional activities of Sicilian families: the tomato paste. there are many recipes to make it and actually each family has its own, but the basic ingredients are 3: tomatoes, basil and … the food mill! If you visit Palermo and the small Sicilian towns in summer, you will probably enjoy a sweet smell of tomato in the air: that means that in a house near you someone is preparing the tomato paste! It is very important to choose the right tomatoes: the best, in our opinion, is the Siccagno tomato from Corleone. 


Corleone is a large agricultural center between Palermo and Agrigento, a place of cattle and sheep breeding, an area where they produce cheese, quality wines, cereals and many other products. An excellent product and, in our opinion, not yet properly valued, is that particular variety of tomato called “Siccagno“, but also curly or star-shaped tomato.

The “Siccagno” tomato


The Sicilian tomato has many varieties (pachino, picadilly, datterino etc.) and is the basic ingredient of many typical Sicilian products, such as sauces, tomato paste, dried tomatoes, pesto pantesco or Trapani style, fish or meat sauce. However, it often happens nowadays that tomatoes no longer have that intense concentration of nutrients and taste, and all this results in a disappointment for the palate. This happens simply because tomatoes contain too much water, which is used in massive doses for their cultivation. The solution is then represented by tomatoes grown without the use of water, dry: hence the name “Siccagno” (from the Italian word “secco”, dry).

These tomatoes, however, need the right soil and climatic conditions. Here comes to our rescue the area of Corleone, which is the perfect place for the cultivation of this product, thanks to the fertility of the soil, able to bring an adequate level of water and nutrients to everything that is grown there. The Corleone tomato plant is very productive, adapts to various climatic conditions and, not being irrigated, has few fruits, relatively small (100/120g), but very tasty fleshy, of an intense red color.

Tradition at the service of modern food

It is an ancient plant: we know that in 1770 the community of Agrigento offered a lunch to its bishop and among the various dishes there were pork rinds filled with the sauce made of “waterless tomatoes of Corleone“, as the English Patrick Brydone tells us. Recently this plant has been rediscovered by nutritionists around the world and is a recommended food for a healthy and balanced diet, because it does not have many calories, is rich in minerals, trace elements, vitamins and antioxidants. We really love this variety of tomato and we hope that in the future people do not only know the Pachino and Sammarzano (Roma) tomatoes, but also the Siccagno tomato from Corleone.

Since it is an excellent product of the Corleone area, in 2019 the City of Corleone organized the first edition of the “Siccagno Fest”: an event organized in order to promote this product, to start a path that will lead to the request of the IGP and DOP classification. The Siccagno tomato from Corleone is an excellent product and we are sure that in the coming years you will hear more and more about it! Just to be honest, we just bought 2 kg of Siccagno tomatoes from Corleone, we have basil, olive oil, salt…so we are ready to cook our tomato sauce for our pasta at lunch!

Palermo Wonders: be ready for your perfect day! 

The Grand Hotel et des Palmes will open its doors in December 2020 and will be a 5 stars luxury hotel in an excellent location: on Via Roma, a few steps from the Theater Politeama and the Theater Massimo. The new structure will host more than 100 rooms that will also include suites and super suites with terrace. It will have 3 restaurants, a spa, an indoor swimming pool and green areas. There will be a roof garden on the rooftops for a top quality restaurant.

The hotel is completing the restoration works, respecting all the original materials and decorations. A work of research of the original designs, in accordance with the Regional Office of Cultural Heritage. An example is the hall of mirrors, one of the best known: the degraded or missing wood carvings have been restored using casts of those existing in other mirrors. The room where Richard Wagner slept will be transformed into a suite named after the German musician. A hotel of great luxury, in the center of the city, great protagonist of the history of Palermo, theater of many historical periods and many stories.

Grand hotel et des Palmes: Luxury and History

Private home

It was built in 1847 by the Ingham-Whitaker family, English entrepreneurs present in Sicily mainly thanks to the production of Marsala wine. It was a private residence with a secret tunnel that crossed the Via Roma and reached the Anglican church in front of it, built by importing the necessary material directly from England, to allow the English visiting Palermo to have a place of worship. The church still entrusted today to the diocese of Gibraltar. The entrance to the passage is in the Sala Azzurra, hidden by a mirror.

Art Nouveau hotel

In 1874 the building was sold to the Enrico Ragusa, who already owned the hotel Trinacria, in via Butera. The building was transformed into a hotel: Ernesto Basile was commissioned to design the transformation of the palace and the building became the symbol of Palermo at the beginning of the 20th century. The hotel took the name Grand hotel et des Palmes and was a very luxurious place with marble, mirrors and inlaid decorations.

Famous Customers

The guests of excellence were not few:

Between 1881 and 1882: Richard Wagner stayed there, together with his second wife Cosima Listz and eight other people. It was here that the writing of Parsifal was finished. Wagner, however, did not have a good relationship with the owner of the hotel, so much so that he said “The only bandit I know in Sicily is the hotelier Ragusa”. In 1893 the Italian Prime Minister, Francesco Crispi, directed the operations against the “Fasci Siciliani” from the Grand Hotel et des Palmes and gave lessons in politics. In 1917 Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, Prime Minister, organized a dinner with 12 courses.

The place of mysteries

The hotel has also been the scene of many mysteries and very original situations: rooms turned into American secret service offices, poisoned philosophers, missing journalists, mysterious suicides, summit of mafia bosses and noblemen with a strange destiny! In 1933 the French surrealist writer Raymond Russel was found dead, in his bed in a hotel room. Officially it was a suicide by hiring barbiturates. But Leonardo Sciascia, years later, returned to this “cold case” in his “Acts relating to the death of Raymond Russel” and revealed many doubts about this case. In 2013, the writer Antonio Fiasconaro presented at the Grand Hotel delle Palme a detective story about this case: “Death of an author”.

Headquarters during the Second World War

In 1943 the hotel was requisitioned by the U.S. Navy and Lieutenant Colonel Charles Poletti, AMGOT camp, together with General George Smith Patton, turned it into their headquarters for war operations. But it was also the place where meetings were held with exponents of the Sicilian-American mafia and it was perhaps in this place that the boss Lucky Luciano was expelled from the United States in 1946. The same Lucky Luciano, in 1956, organized in the hotel a summit between the exponents of the American and Sicilian mafia.

The cast of The Leopard and other actors

In the post-war period it became the point of reference of the politics and hosted important people like Renato Guttuso, Giorgio De Chirico, Luchino Visconti, Burt Lancaster, Vittorio Gassman, Fred Buscaglione, Maria Callas, Primo Carnera, Francis Ford Coppola, Patty Pravo and Al Pacino.

The most original guest: Baron Di Stefano

The guest who made the history of the hotel is undoubtedly the Barone Di Stefano, who occupied room 204 for almost 50 years: until 1998, when he died at the age of 92. A book was also written about this character: “Palermo solo”, by the French writer Philippe Fusaro. The Baron, born in Castelvetrano, in the province of Trapani, was forced by the Mafia to choose between a violent death and a life as a prisoner: this was the punishment for killing a young boy caught stealing almonds in his feud. Every so often the Baron “escaped” from his luxurious prison, it is said that he went to Naples by ship, to attend the operas.

He had very precise habits: after lunch he used to go around the block, the barber and the tailor came to visit him in his suite when necessary. He frequented the famous people who stayed at the hotel and everyone was attracted by his charisma and his unique history. When he died, the hotel gave him the honor of leaving the main entrance, as a deceased, with all the employees lined up.

Discover our walking tour!


Palermo Wonders: be ready for your perfect day! 


“Heroes – Bowie by Sukita” is the title of the exhibition that, from October 10, 2020 to January 31, 2021 will be hosted at Palazzo Sant’Elia in Palermo. It consists of over 100 large-format portraits by David Bowie, some of which are national premieres, which tell about a long partnership – over forty years – between the rock legend and the great master of photography Masayoshi Sukita (now 82 years old).

David Bowie and Masayoshi Sukita

The Japanese photographer arrived in London in 1972 to immortalize Marc Bolan and T-Rex. Although he did not know David Bowie, he decided to go to one of his concerts, attracted by the poster that portrayed him with one leg up against a black background.

Bowie’s manager arranged a shooting and, despite the fact that the two did not speak the same language and remained silent throughout the shoot, they felt a common artistic sensibility. From that moment on, a professional collaboration and an understanding that lasted until David Bowie’s death in 2016. Heroes is the title of Bowie’s album published in 1977: the cover featured shots taken by the Japanese photographer, inspired by a painting by the expressionist painter Erich Heckel, “Roquairol”. Bowie assumed the same position as the protagonist of the canvas.

The Exhibition in Palermo

It will be Palazzo Sant’Elia, with its eighteenth-century halls, to host the images that focus on the White Duke, a contemporary artist who enriched rock music with her artistic sensibility.

Heroes is therefore a celebration of the artist David Bowie and the photographic mastery of Masayoshi Sukita, is the rock music that enters a baroque palace. It is the celebration of a friendship. For many visitors it will also be an opportunity to relive the years of youth. The exhibition is organized by OEO Firenze Art and Le Nozze di Figaro with Fondazione Sant’Elia, curated by Ono Arte Contemporanea, under the patronage of the Municipality of Palermo and the Metropolitan City of Palermo, MLC Comunicazione office.

Don’t miss the possibility to visit the exhibition with us and discover also the city center of Palermo!

Timetables and tickets

“Heroes – Bowie by Sukita” will be open:

  • from Tuesday to Friday from 9h00 to 17h00
  • Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 20h00.


  • Full price ticket: 8€
  • Reduced: 6€
  • Schools: 4€
  • Free admission up to 6 years old
  • Combo ticket “Banksy” + “Heroes. Bowie by Sukita” 12€

Tickets available at Palazzo Sant’Elia, via Maqueda 81, and online at

Palermo Wonders: be ready for your perfect day! 

Banksy Exhibition Palermo

“Ritratto di ignoto. L’artista chiamato Banksy” (Portrait of the unknown. The artist called Banksy)  is the title of the exhibition in Palermo that, from 7 October 2020 to 17 January 2021, will exhibit 100 original works by the English artist in two different locations: Loggiato San Bartolomeo and Palazzo Trinacria.

The exhibition is curated by Gianluca Marziani, Stefano Antonelli and Arcoris Andipa, commissioned by Fondazione Sant’Elia with Fondazione Pietro Barbaro, produced and organized by MetaMorfosi Associazione Culturale, under the patronage of the Municipality of Palermo and the Metropolitan City, in collaboration with MLC Comunicazione.

Banksy Exhibition Palermo: all about the tickets

You can buy the tickets at Palazzo Sant’Elia, in via Maqueda 81.

From October 7th it will be possible to buy the tickets also at Loggiato San Bartolomeo.

It is also possible to buy tickets online.

Banksy Exhibition Palermo: prices

Standard ticket: 8€

Reduced: 6€

  • Over 65
  • Local guides
  • Architects
  • Accountants

Disabled: 4€

Schoolchildren: 4€

Combo with “Banksy” + Heroes. Bowie by Sukita” 12€

Who is Banksy

Banksy is the best-known contemporary British artist in the world, thanks also to the fact that he has decided to remain anonymous. Originally from Bristol, where he was born around 1974, he is now one of the leading exponents of street art and represents the greatest case of success for a living artist since the time of Andy Warhol.

The artist stands out for the use of the stencil technique, given the need, during the realization of the works, to be quick and avoid the intervention of the police. Banksy became famous thanks to  his works all over the world: they are satirical, political, and provocative. He speaks about pollution, the contradictions of Western society, animal abuse, and child exploitation.


Since he also criticizes the usual systems of diffusion of arts, he has made himself the protagonist of incursions into famous museums where he has clandestinely hung works made in perfect style, but with anachronistic details. One example is Show me the Monet, where a typical landscape of the French artist houses two shopping trolleys and a street cone.

In 2019, during the inauguration of the 58th Biennale, the artist created the mural Naufrago bambino (Shipwrecked Child) in Venice, contesting the Italian government’s policy of closing ports against migrants stranded at sea.

An artist of our times who tackles the problems of contemporary society in a direct and provocative way, skillfully using the multimedia communication system.

Banksy exhibition Palermo: what to expect

The curators of the exhibition have hooked an idea: the famous “Ritratto di Ignoto” by Antonello da Messina, one of the most famous works of the Sicilian Renaissance artist. A man without name was painted by Antonello, an artist without name or face is the protagonist of this exhibition.

The exceptionality of the event consists in the fact that for the first time in Sicily more than 100 original works by the British artist are brought together. These are freehand paintings of the very first period; silkscreens considered as serial handicrafts in order to spread his messages, installations and objects from Dismaland (such as, for example, Mickey Snake, with Mickey Mouse swallowed by a python) and numbered pieces that testify to the existence of an artist who loves to experiment with different techniques and modes of communication.


It will therefore be an exhibition full of meanings, which will lead us to reflect on the present and on our society. Everything will be enriched by a catalog edited especially for the exhibition, accompanied by critical essays by Gianluca Marziani, Stefanio Antonelli and Arcoris Andipa.

Banksy exhibition Palermo: the locations

The choice of locations is also significant: two separate buildings located in the Kalsa district of Palermo.

San Bartolomeo’s Loggia

A few steps from Porta Felice, was part of the fourteenth-century hospital of San Bartolomeo degli incurabili. In 1608 the viceroy marquis of Vigliena decided to enlarge the complex equipping it with a courtyard and decorating the facade with carved stone elements. In 1826 it became an orphanage with the name of Santo Spirito.

Today the Loggiato is what remains after the bombardments of 1943. Recently restored with projects financed by the Province using the most modern techniques, today it is a wonderful window overlooking the sea, thanks also to the transparent windows.

Trinacria Palace

It is a significant place for the city, as it was the first building that was created specifically as a hotel. Designed around 1840 by architects Andrea Gigante and Vincenzo Trombetta, it had 54 luxurious rooms with bathroom and even elevator, one of the first in the city. Inaugurated in 1844, it hosted important people, including Giuseppe Garibaldi. The hotel ceased its activity in 1911. Later it was transformed into a conference center and private accommodation. The entrance is in via Butera n.24 and, towards the sea, its terrace is adjacent to that of Palazzo Butera, recently restored.

The Kalsa district

The choice of exhibition venues is of great importance for the city. An area of the city inextricably linked to the sea and that concentrates several places of interest, such as the Foro Italico, Palazzo Butera, the Puppet Museum, Piazza Marina, Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri, Palazzo Mirto, the church of San Francesco d’Assisi, the Oratory of San Lorenzo, the Ortatorio dei Bianchi, Palazzo Abatellis, Villa Giulia, the Botanical Garden, the area of Sant’Erasmo, the Spasimo, Piazza Magione. Places that you can discover together with us with our walking tour!

Palermo Wonders: be ready for your perfect day!

Let’s wake up.

And melt in dreams, colors and gold.

Let’s dream.

And live on art, pearls and marbles.

We will wake-up after a long sleep,

It will be a dream after a long vigil.

All our senses will be awake,

We will be immersed in the beauty .

We will taste life, we will meet again.

It will be us,

After a long winter.

It will be us,


In Palermo.


A new start after the covid

We’ve been shut in for a long time, and the pandemic has reminded us once again of the weakness of the human condition. Faced with difficulties we want to react and rely on the strength of art and beauty. Travelling is a way to enrich oneself: to know new places, atmospheres, people, to taste the food of the place and to exchange the joy of living.

Palermo Wonders wants to start from here: from the strength of art and beauty, because we believe that they express the best of human beings of the past and that they help us to live better, and with more awareness, the present. The future will be beautiful only if we are aware of what we have been in the past and what we are today.

Let’s wake up from our lethargy and start dreaming and imagining a new future through universal art, through the knowledge of the history of other peoples and their way of expressing themselves.

The gold of Palermo

Palermo can make you discover gold: not only the gold of the Byzantine mosaics of a thousand years ago, but also the gold of the mixture of cultures that have lived here, the gold of the joy of living of the people of Palermo, of their spontaneity, the gold of the Sicilian sun.

A trip to Palermo is a complete experience that will satisfy you in all senses: you only have to choose what to look for: art, history, music, literature, local life, food, authenticity, spontaneity, relaxation, joy.