In my article today, I’m gonna tell you about the Christmas markets in Palermo. They’re just not what they used to be but you can still find small markets scattered here and there throughout the city.
Ciao! Nico here to wish you a Buon Natale. I hope you plan to come to Palermo during this traditional holiday season.
Palermo’s Christmas markets are well-known on the internet but ― As your semi-official host and guide to Palermo, I want to tell you where the best of the Christmas markets are to be found.
Of course, we all know that Christmas without a Nativity Scene è impensabile, unthinkable!
Unfortunately, I have to step in here and curb your enthusiasm for anything you may have heard about the Christmas season in Palermo.
Palermo is no longer the bustling unforgettable Christmas destination it used to be.
In recent years, the pinheads governing our ancient city have managed to destroy many of the former joyful activities that we used to anticipate during the Christmas season.
This has even spread into the general population as well so it looks as if all the more important Christmas events are going south.
Even finding some information about all the markets to be organized in Palermo for this 2020 holiday season was a feat that would have challenged William of Baskerville.
If you haven’t read Il nome della rosa, (The Name of the Rose), by Umberto Eco, you’re missing out on one of the finest mystery novels of all time.
Scusa, I’m rambling again.
I tried to get some useful information out of the city administration but I wasn’t surprised to find out that no one knows anything about markets or any other preparations to celebrate Christmas.
It was immediately clear to me that they don’t want to find out because that might force them to work a little bit. And why would anyone want to work when they can get a public salary without doing a thing.
Of course, they may have an idea there.
Oops, there I go, rambling again.
Through diligent effort, I managed to find that there will be three Christmas markets worth mentioning.
When I say this, please don’t envision crowded noisy markets filled with lights and happy-faced people. Actually, these are rather more small affairs with stalls selling food products.
Having said that, here are the three markets I can tell you about.
Unfortunately, there will not be any Christmas activities to talk about this year. In order to limit COVID-19’s spread, all the leisure and entertainment spots, including restaurants and bars, will be closed during the festivities. Similarly, all parties and celebrations for New Year’s Eve are strictly prohibited by law.
1. Citadel of Craftsmanship at Via Magliocco Street
This is without question the best of the Christmas markets that Palermo can offer.
However, I don’t expect you to be thrilled or overcome with holiday emotion. Still, however, this market is reasonably decent.
I have to give it my stamp of approval for commitment and the organizers’ efforts to get this market as close to the famous picturesque Christmas villages we see in most countries.
This little market is a row of wooden gazebos decorated with Christmas decorations.
The visitor can find an assortment of artisan work by craftsmen from all over Sicily who have come to display samples of their abilities.
There are areas where the visitor can sample a real taste of typical Sicilian street food.
Children will, of course, have an opportunity to meet Santa Claus.
This Christmas market is located in the central Via Magliocco. This can be reached from Via Ruggero Settimo. You almost have to use that route. It continues on to almost all of Palermo’s most famous monuments.
It’s also just a few steps to the Massimo Theater.
The Citadel of Craftsmanship is the oldest Christmas market in Palermo. It has been organized every year for about ten years now.
The market will be open from November 29th until the 6th of January. It will be open every day from 10 in the morning until eight o’clock in the evening. On holidays and pre-holidays, it remains open until midnight.
Entrance is free.
This is the only Christmas market I can recommend for a visit. The following two are alternatives, but I’m not sure you’d want to visit them.
2. Christmas Fair in the Sicilian County Avenue
This event is held at the Polo Fieristico in the Sicilian County Avenue in front of the Pagliarelli Prison (Check the map)
This fair is quite distant from the city center and all the main attractions.
If you’re determined to go there, you’ll have to rent a car. I can only give you my opinion: It’s not worth your trouble.
The only real attraction this fair has is Luna Park.
There are rides for children as well as adults. There are areas set aside for food and handicrafts.
This market opened in October and will remain open until January 6th.
Monday through Friday, open from 4 pm until 11 pm.
Saturday, Sunday and holidays, from 4 pm until midnight.
3. Pala Giotto Fair
This may sound better than it really is.
It does have a few Christmas tents set up. There’s Santa’s house for the little tots, but that’s about it. A few rides and plenty of confusion, especially on weekends.
Ths Pala Giotto Fair is in the Piazzale Giotto, a good distance away from the historic city center and most of our tourist attractions.
If you really want to check it out, it opened in October and will remain open until the 6th of January 2020. Open every day from 4 pm until 1 am.
Sadly, it seems that in recent years, Santa Claus has forgotten all about Palermo. I hope it’s not because we’ve been naughty instead of nice.
As I said, the only market I can really recommend is the one at Via Magliocco.
I can however, recommend our historic markets such as Capo and Ballerò. They don’t celebrate Christmas but these former Arabian souks won’t disappoint you.
One more thing: before I say arrivederci, I recommend that you grab a copy of Nico’s travel guide. He’s taken great pains to make sure you get the most out of your visit to our beloved city of Palermo.
I’m always here to address any comments or questions you may have.
Now I’ll say arrivederci.