As with the rest of Sicily, Palermo is a year-round destination. Summer is hot, and it’s the region’s peak tourism season. Coastal areas around the city are packed with beach-goers from around Italy and Europe. Palermo’s patron saint, Rosalia, is celebrated during the first two weeks of July. The event is capped on the evening of July 14 by a procession with an elaborate horse-drawn chariot carrying musicians, starting from the Palazzo dei Normanni and making its way through streets that glitter with canopies of tiny lights. Fireworks burst in the sky over the port and bay, all in celebration of the saint who miraculously saved the city from the black plague.
Arguably the most beautiful time of year in Palermo is spring, when the almond groves are a sea of white blossoms and the hills are lush and green. Easter is a time of tradition and pageantry, when religious processions weave through Palermo’s medieval quarter—and bakery shelves are filled with gastronomic delicacies such as cassata, Sicily’s famous sweetened ricotta cake, plus a mind-boggling assortment of marzipan and pistachio confections. On March 19, the feast day of San Giuseppe—St. Joseph, the patron saint of Italy and of pastry chefs—delectable sfinci, fried pastry puffs filled with creamy ricotta, are served.