Day 1: A FEAST OF FOOD AND CULTURE
Get your comfy walking shoes on and start at Mercato il Capo market, beating the tour groups who pass through later in the day. If you’ve got a mid-morning appetite, try a freshly fried arancini, then go to Mercato delle Pulci, the flea market lining the road near the cathedral, with curiosities filling the shops. Next, head to the Palazzo dei Normanni ( pictured; €12/£10.50), the former seat of Sicily’s kings. Once you’re in the Palatine Chapel, look up; ceilings don’t come much grander. Stroll down to Fontana Pretoria and marvel at its sculptures, then head over to La Martorana (€2/£1.75) on Piazza Bellini, with its golden ceiling.
A couple of streets away, visit the Modern Art Gallery (GAM; €7/£6) on Via Sant’anna for diverse artworks, including lifelike marble sculptures by 17th century artist Lio Gangeri.
Scrub up at your hotel before heading to Teatro Massimo (teatromassimo.it; prices vary) for a night at the opera. If peckish, grab a slice of pizza on the sidestreets surrounding this imposing building. Many of the operas show subtitles on a screen above the stage.