View of the Palermo Mercato Del Capo

Discover the Arabian flair of these 3 historic markets in Palermo

In Palermo's markets, you will be immersed in a world of colours, sounds and spices. We present the 3 historic Palermo markets you should visit. Let's go.

by: Adriana Cuffaro | 22 Oktober 2021

#1 La Vucciria market: From meat market to lively meeting place

La Vucciria market is Palermo's oldest and best-known market.

It is located in the old town and became known as the butchers' market ("Bucceria"), because it was originally intended for the slaughter and sale of meat.

In the course of time, however, other traders came to sell fish, fruit and vegetables. Thus, it became an ever larger and livelier part of the city.

Vuccirìa means "confusion" in the Palermo dialect. The confusion of overlapping voices and shouting vendors was one of the characteristics of this market in Palermo, which also gave it its name.

Woman at a stand at the Vucciria
A woman shops at La Vucciria market
Photo: trolvag, Mercato Vucciria - panoramio (2), CC BY-SA 3.0

Since the 2000s, the vucciria market has changed. Even today, a few Sicilian farmers and fishermen sell fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and spices at the stalls during the day. and spices.

But the "confusion" is now more on the evening, when the traditional food stalls slowly close.

Then it turns out that La Vucciria market has become one of the most important nightlife spots in Palermo. It has become a gathering place for night owls.

People from all walks of life in Palermo, as well as Italian and foreign tourists, come here to sample to taste Palermo street food at attractive prices and have a few inexpensive drinks. and to have a few inexpensive drinks.

The best place to experience nightlife is the central square, Piazza Garraffello. The decayed area exudes a very special a very special urban atmosphere.

The central square of the Vucciria, Piazza Garraffello.
The central square of the Vucciria, Piazza Garraffello, fills with life in the evening.
Photo: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita
Conclusion and location

The Vucciria market is suitable for capturing the authentic nightlife and urban atmosphere towards evening. For a visit to a typical food market with an Arabic flair, the two markets that follow are somewhat more suitable.

Location of the Vucciria market (Google Maps)

#2 Ballarò Market: Lively and multicultural

The Ballarò market has existed for for over 1,000 years and is the most picturesque street market of the Sicilian capital and arguably one of the liveliest in Europe.

The lively market is in the multicultural and multilingual neighbourhood of Albergheria. Besides Arabic, you will therefore hear many other languages here.

Ballarò market with a church in the background
Ballarò market with a church in the background
Photo: Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita

Wind your way through the narrow medieval streets from Piazza Ballarò to Piazza Carmine. and get a glimpse of Palermo's past as one of the most important commercial centres.

The Ballarò market got its name from the nearby village of Bahlara, where merchants of the Arab domination found a home and where the goods for sale came from.

It is visited by hundreds of people every day and when you enter the market, you are constantly accompanied by the loud and often quite colourful shouts of the various traders, inviting you to buy their wares.

This painterly invitation is called "abbanniata" in the Palermo dialect. And indeed, listening to this "folk music" typical of historical markets is part of the spectacle.

In the alleys of the Ballarò market you can feel the Arab influence
In the alleys of the Ballarò market you can feel the Arab influence
Photo: ildirettore, Mercato di Ballarò - panoramio, CC BY 3.0

Ballaró is famous for selling products from the surrounding area of Palermo. It is mainly a food marketselling fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.

But you will be equally delighted by its diverse selection. There are also household goods for cooking or vintage fashion.

If you have had enough browsing and need a little break, you can take a seat at one of the many small wooden tables and try one of the local specialities. and try one of the local specialities.

At the market there are many ready-cooked dishes and street foods that are typical of Palermo cuisine. How about a fried aubergine stuffed with meat or cheese, for example?

A street food stand at the Ballarò market
A street food stand at the Ballarò market
Photo: Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita
Conclusion and location

The Ballarò market is Palermo's largest market and simply offers everything that makes up a typical market with Arabian flair. The next market, del Capo, offers the same experience, but is a little smaller and quieter.

Location of the Ballarò market (Google Maps)

#3 Market del Capo: Central and yet a little quieter

The Market del Capo is located in the eponymous neighbourhood il Capo and is the right choice for those who like it a little less touristy.

It is a little smaller than the Ballarò market, but has the same typical Palermo market atmosphere. For us, it is the .

You will find a wide selection of fresh food here, including mainly fish, but also other delicacies as well as fruit, vegetables or fine meat.

Picture of pedestrians strolling through the Mercato del Capo
Pedestrians stroll through the Mercato del Capo
Photo: © Robin Marx – BnB Dolcevita

The location of the Market del Capo is very central and only a few metres from the Teatro Massimo. Ideal for a walk in the centre of the historic city centre.

Start your visit to the market at Via Porta Carini. Here you will find the famous gate of the same name, which used to be part of the part of the fortress wall and now serves as the symbolic entrance to the Market del Capo.

Conclusion and location

The del Capo market, like the Ballarò market, is an ideal place to experience a typical market with an Arab flair. It is especially suitable for you if you like it a little less crowded.

Location of the del Capo market (Google Maps)

Clear recommendation: The markets of Palermo

When you visit the markets of Palermo, you have the impression of being in a "souq" of an oriental city. It is not for nothing that the markets were Arab rule.

Even today, one can observe the customs of buying and selling, the colours, the smells, the custom, streets and squares with stalls, baskets and colourful tents typical of traditional North African markets.

Palermo's markets are the ideal place for an authentic immersion in the past and the oldest traditions of the Palermitans. When you visit Palermo, we recommend you admire these picturesque markets.

The dream accommodation
for your stay in Palermo

Picture of a room at the Boutique BnB Dolcevita

Many travellers want quality accommodation with an authentic atmosphere. At Boutique BnB Dolcevita we offer modern rooms and warm service so you can feel like a local for a while.

More info on the Boutique BnB Dolcevita

Other popular articles
Want to know more?
Palermo Online Travel Guide
View of Palermo from the roof of the cathedral