Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Italy chapter on Sicily has to say about Palermo:
“The intersection known as the Quattro Canti (Four Corners) divides the historic centre into four traditional quarters that contain the majority of Palermo’s sights.
The Mercato del Capo, which extends through the tangle of lanes and alleyways of the Albergheria and Capo quarters respectively, is the most atmospheric of all. Here, meat carcasses sway from huge metal hooks, glistening tuna and swordfish are expertly dismembered and anchovies are filleted. Long and orderly lines of stalls display pungent cheeses, tubs of plum olives and a huge array of luscious fruits and voluptuous vegetables.
Behind the splendours of the Palazzo dei Normanni lies the contrastingly shabby, run¬ down district of Albergheria, once inhabited by Norman court officials and now home to a growing number of immigrants who are attempting to revitalize its dusty backstreets. This is also the location of Palermo’s busiest street market, the Mercato di Ballarò, which throbs with activity well into the early evening.
It’s a fascinating mix of noise, smells and full-on street life, and the cheapest place for everything from Chinese padded bras to fresh produce, fish and meat, plus the best and most appetizing cheese selection imaginable – smile nicely for a taste.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD