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Shopping in Palermo

Modern Palermo has plenty of opportunities for avid shoppers. This is Italy after all: expect brands from Sisley and Stefanel to H&M, Zara, Mango, Louis Vuitton and Hermes. But when shopping in Palermo, it also pays to dive into its bustling markets, which have been influenced by the city's Muslim past.

Key areas

If you want to buy pupi (puppets), head for Corso Vittorio Emanuele where several workshops are located. Designer gear can be found along the smart Via Libertà, which is lined with Italian and European labels such as Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Hermés, Prada, Furla and Louis Vuitton. Antique and arts lovers should head to Corso Alberto Amedeo, while the best ceramics can be found down Via Nicolò Gallo, Via Daita and Via Isidoro La Lumia.

Markets

Immerse yourself in the best of the city's atmosphere at the Vucciria Market, between Via Roma and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Make sure you get there early in the morning to see the market at its liveliest. Open Monday to Saturday from dawn until 1400, it sells all kinds of wares from fresh seafood to souvenirs and local handicrafts. Other good markets include Borgo Vecchio, which stays open until the evening; the Piazza Peranni market for antiques; and Ballaro for those who love street food.

Shopping centres

Forum Palermo, Via Filippo Pecoraino, is Palermo's largest shopping centre with 120 shops, restaurants, cafes and a cinema. La Rinascente, Via Roma, 289, is home to a number of excellent independent shops.

Opening hours

Most shops will open at 0930 and close for lunch at about 1330. They reopen again at 1600 until about 2000. Bigger stores remain open throughout the day.

Souvenirs

Puppets, painted pottery, and copperware and tinware bought along the ancient Via Calderai all make excellent keepsakes.

Tax information

Value added tax is 22%. Travellers from outside the EU can claim back sales tax on purchases over €155 if they have bought from shops displaying the 'tax free' shopping sign.

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Featured Hotels

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Centrale Palace Hotel

In the historic centre, near the Quattro Canti, this luxury hotel has 103 rooms and 11 suites, all tastefully decorated. Breakfast is served in a grand restaurant. There is a roof terrace for evening drinks and a grand red Sicilian marble staircase for those who like to make an entrance.

Hotel Principe di Villafranca

It may have just 34 rooms, but this stylish hotel makes up for size with an intimate restaurant and bar, and a cosy reading room with an intriguing collection of books. Located in the city centre, close to some top fashion boutiques, it is conveniently place for shopaholics. Expect a refined atmosphere and elegant furnishings.

Grand Hotel Etes des Palmes

The sumptuous rooms of this historical, city centre hotel are decorated with antique furniture and fine fabrics. Founded in 1874, and renovated by one of the great masters of the art nouveau style, Ernesto Basile, in 1907, this has been the haunt of Italian socialites, writers, musicians and film stars for more than a century.

Hotel Garibaldi

In the heart of Palermo's shopping area, Hotel Garibaldi is a decent, moderately priced stay. Recently renovated, all rooms are now modern with funky fabrics and contemporary photographic prints bringing them to life. Wi-Fi, LCD TVs and tea and coffee making facilities are among the home comforts.

Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

At Acquasanta, 3km (2 miles) north of the city, this 5-star hotel, restored by renowned 19th century architect Ernesto Basile at the end of the 19th century, is housed in a sumptuous art nouveau building. Seriously stylish accommodation, it offers original frescoes, decoration and furniture.

Grand Hotel Wagner

The luxury Grand Hotel Wagner is full of old-world charm. Recently restored, this early-20th century building boasts antique furniture, chandeliers, rare marble, rich carpets and old paintings. Rooms are exquisitely decorated and there's a laid-back piano bar and a fourth-floor terrace with stunning city views.