If you got here, I bet you’re on a Palermo shopping pilgrimage. I feel you.
Whenever I’m visiting places like Palermo, crowded, ancient, that WOW you at every step with its tiny, intimate spaces, I love walking for hours and hours. This usually makes me discover quite pretty and magical shopping locations. And gifts and memories that raise their meaning from the skilled hands of the local artisans and abundant heritage.
What souvenirs to buy in Palermo?
If you’re in Palermo right now and searching for some undisputable Sicilian souvenirs, this is your list for a fast inspiration. Most beautiful and, in some cases, tastiest souvenirs from Palermo are connected to mythology, Moorish stories, local legends, beliefs and infamous Mediterranean land fertility.
In short, most wanted Palermo souvenirs are ceramics (ceramic pine cones, Moorish heads, Majolica tiles), specialty food (Etna wines, Modica chocolate, pasta, olive oil ) and Coppola man hats. But you can find so much more in prettiest Palermo gift shops.
Let’s check together all things you can bring home from Palermo.
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Coppola Hats | Antico Berrettificio Panormus
Coppola Beretta Store in Palermo, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
A retro fabrication studio & store still embracing the atmosphere and the style of the 50’s men fashion. And it’s located right in the labyrinthic heart of Palermo. Inhere, the cute & fancy Coppola-style berettas that decorate the tiny window are fabricated by using ancient techniques and equipment.
Being an iconic symbol of Sicilian heritage, we’ve seen them in the movies, on the catwalks and they are easily making a comeback into the daily street wear trends. Even my husband insisted the entire holiday to buy one for himself.
That makes the Coppola hat a quite authentic Italian souvenir for any stylish man. It’s local fashion, it’s handmade by a Sicilian artisan, it is good for any season. In other words, relevant and purposeful. And I suppose no one can deny that Al Pacino looked pretty hot in the Godfather wearing his.
- 📌 Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 72/45, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Bigiotteria e Accessori
Bigiotteria e Accessori Palermo Gift Store, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
At first glance, a no-brand, kind-of-common jewelry store, with Sicilian symbols-inspired pieces. Even so, I was almost magically drawn to it by being completely fascinated by the tiny, extremely detailed and lively colored window exhibits. I usually wear very simple jewelry or not at all, but this time I couldn’t move my eyes away for minutes.
Most of them were handcrafted earrings, daring miniature reproductions of the traditional majolica tiles or of the so often encountered Moorish fruit heads. Therefore, the right Sicilian souvenirs reminding of the Arab-Norman times of Palermo, maybe cheap, but extremely vibrant and fun.
I always try to avoid the kitschy gifts, Italian or not, but the way the earrings were exhibited, the powerful blues, the way the light fell on them at sunset and the quality of the work made them quite original and attractive. I kind of imagined them as the highlight of a simple attire, perfect fit with a monochrome dress for any summer evening or city exploring.
- 📌 Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 275, Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
RISO – Contemporary Art Museum Store
RISO Museum Window in Palermo, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
I visited the museum in a time when except seeing one more palazzo, was not much more to see: there was only one exhibition, while the rest of the rooms were under renovation.
The exhibition in the main hall, a wood-cabinets-hanging-from-the-ceiling installation of Jannis Kounellis, and the interior patio were interesting to see, but the 12 euro we paid for 2 people could have been put to a better use in the amazing RISO bookstore. For me, that was THE ACTUAL MUSEUM: modern high quality gifts and souvenirs made by local artisans and design studios.
Conceptualizing afresh old Sicilian symbols and literature, the bookstore of the Riso Museum explores a new and sophisticated concept of space where quality publishing is mixed with original souvenirs connected to the collection of the museum or Sicily.
Books on contemporary Italian art, exhibition catalogues and refined merchandise such as light art of Domenico Pellegrino (seen in the windows of the store), hand-painted brooches of Francesca Giordano or the line of personalized paper products dedicated to Palazzo Belmonte Riso. These are just a few examples of design and art oriented Italian souvenirs Palermo has to offer.
- 📌 Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 365, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Punto Pizzo Free – L’Emporio
Specialty Store in Palermo, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
L’Emporio is all about Sicilian food specialties, the right Palermo souvenirs for convinced foodies. Here you can find artisans-made pasta, Sicilian wines, the delicious Modica chocolate, the best pistachio cream (pistachio equivalent of Nutella), jams, cookies, Limoncello. It’s a genuine Italian food paradise where you can find things you’ve never thought they existed.
As a plus, L’Emporio is one of those magnificently good shops in Palermo that have Modica chocolate tastings. And the lady showing us around and almost forcing us to eat that chocolate with all her kindness, told us the stor eis part of Adio Pizzo, the association of shopkeepers that refuse to pay the local Mafia.
Italian Goodies at L’Emporio, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
This is where I bought the most part of my edible Sicilian souvenirs: a Carriante white wine: Firriato -Le sabbie dell’Etna, green, fine pistachio di Bronte mousse in a very little jar, lots of Modica chocolates (chunky sugar and lots of cocoa) with almonds and red oranges, some amazing pasta spices that I can’t describe because I’ve already removed the label. Anyway, everything is fantastic and tasty inside that store.
If you are in Palermo, stop by L’Emporio. It’s a one of a kind adventure. I could not even decide which picture was depicting better the store so I put plenty. Go!
- 📌 Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 172, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
La Stanza di Carta – Libri & Arte
One small room, very intimate bookstore, decorated in a vintage style with a chandelier, comfortable armchairs for reading and walls completely covered in books. All telling stories of Italy, places and lifestyle and its most famous artists and authors. From place to place, the carefully arranged books are adorned with sculptures and other pieces of art.
What drove me into this bookstore were the few the typical shadow boxes exhibited outside (we had one shadow box on the wall of our AirbBnb ♡) representing Italian home interiors. More specifically, small handmade miniatures of vintage furniture placed inside frames, ready to hang on the wall.
When I wanted to enter, I moved a few steps back because it felt like I was trespassing someone’s private space. It is so cozy that it’s shocking. One of those places less talked about, less touristic, that discovered during a walk profoundly impress you. The atmosphere inside is discrete, magical and full of wonders.
Either we are talking about the framed dioramas or the beautiful books inside, all would be really precious souvenirs from island of Sicily.
- 📌 Address: Via Giuseppe d’Alessi 1, inters. with via Maqueda, Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Mercato Ballaro – Sicilian Souvenirs Must Stop
Moor’s Heads Italian Souvenirs
Ballaro is one of the three historical, ancient markets of Palermo. Maybe the most authentic of them all: a fusion trading place with either fresh, local or Sicily-inspired products of all sorts, yet sold in the fussy vibe of north African souks.
In Ballaro, you can find literally everything: from food in all forms, a splash of fresh fruits and vegetables ripened by the Sicilian sun, blends of dried herbs, meat stalls and traditionally cooked dishes to all tiny kitschy souvenirs and clothing at accessible prices.
Anarchy rules in Ballaro, but it’s the perfect place to let yourself overwhelmed by the loud Italian voices, strong colours and scents. And cheap Italian gifts: magnets, majolica tiles, most probably many made in China.
- 📌 Address: Via Ballaro, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Mondadori Bookstore & Novelty Gifts
Stationary Collection Chiara Ferragni x Pigna, designed by Martina Padrin
Mondadori Bookstore was really close to my AirBnb stay. Just 5 minutes away. Once I entered the bookstore, I hardly wanted to leave it. Three notebooks (although one was more than enough to write my Palermo trip notes), pens and pencils, some novelty gifts and two extremely cute mugs to bring back home. All ended up in my bag.
I found it to be a really well stoked and cosy little bookstore. They do have a large selection of Italian novels (if you speak Italian, of course). But my favourite part is the generous display of stationaries, cards, small gadgets and gifts and decorations. Some are part of collections of Italian designers or influencers’ brands such as Chiara Ferragni.
- 📌 Address: Via Roma, 270/272, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Sicilian Coffa Bags
Palermo with all its colorful details seems to be the home of the original Coffa bags that find their meaning in the ancient rural Sicilian traditions. I haven’t seen many stores to sell these bags while walking on the streets of Palermo, but they are one-of-a-kind, Sicilian souvenirs.
👜 Luigi | SicilyBag
The ancient coffa was the straw basket used by peasants for carrying food when heading for work on the fields. Nowadays, the beautifully decorated straw bags have become a fashion statement. The bags of Luigi, an artisan who has been doing this for decades, are so so pretty and alive, each unique in its own way. And the website is delivering worldwide.
His bags never go out of fashion or lose their shine.
- 📌 Address: Made in Palermo, Found on: Sicily Bag.
👜 Susanna Morabito | Coffe Reali
Sicilian Coffa Bag, Image courtesy of Susanna Morabito
Susanna’s coffa bags are some of the most unconventional, but undoubtedly glamorous souvenirs made in Palermo.
The typical Sicilian straw bags hide behind an exuberant decorative sense and strong colours reminding of some of the most significant characteristics of the island: the extravagant baroque architecture and the pictorials of the Sicilian cart.
She combines all-chic materials from pompoms to pearls, velvet and crochet, brocades, lace and fur for a never-fading, vintage luxury accessory.
- 📌 Address: Via della Libertà, 97, 90143 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps).
Unusual Art | Palazzo Reale
Palazzo Reale Store in Palermo, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
Oh, well, this is one outstanding museum store filled with precious books and fine art souvenirs that overturn any classical definition or idea of similarly themed shopping places. The space is located just next to the main entrance of Palazzo Reale and it gives you an overview of the Italian history and modern art scene.
One airy, minimalistic style, vaulted ceiling space vaguely reminding of the interior of a Christian church. Its simplicity highlights the beautifully restored, 17th century fresco depicting the Madonna del Rosario with San Domenico and San Francesco.
Having my own design and digital manufacturing workshop for more than 8 years, I was completely impressed by the 3D printed torso statues. For me, those were la pièce de résistance of my bookstore visit.
And even if, like any other museum bookstore, it offers a substantial collection of publications on the history of the Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel, Arts books, exhibition catalogues and the never absent and always life saving tourist guides, it doesn’t fail to amaze its visitors. The boxed shelves are the perfect frame for one-of-a-kind souvenirs from selected Sicilian designers: 3d printed, happy coloured bust statues, handcrafted wooden dolls, metallic hearts and miniature chairs.
- 📌 Address: Piazza del Parlamento, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Majolica Tiles | Stanze al Genio Museum
Majolica Glazed Ceramic Tiles are a unique type of ceramic tiles with roots in the Renaissance Period.
You can find Majolica tiles in many, many places, but one special place that can increase the meaning and value of your tiny pieces of ceramic is Majolica Museum “Stanze al Genio”.
A hidden gem in Palermo, Stanze al Genio is one of a kind museum with a private, memorable collection of 5000 rare, hand-painted tiles from the 15th to the 20th century. The tiles, gathered from all Sicily and Naples are covering the walls, ceilings and floors of several rooms inside the 600-year-old Palazzo Torre Pirajno.
The small bookshop has a collection of very special magnets, books and stationary, all connected to Majolica tiles.
- 📌 Address: Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 11, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Teste di Moro & Pigne di Caltagirone
Sicilian Ceramic Pine Cone
These precious ceramics are two of the most appreciated and genuine Sicilian souvenirs. Their creation is deeply rooted in the folk stories and beliefs of the Mediterranean island.
The first one, teste di Moro, also known as Moorish heads, refers to the cheerfully coloured vases in the shape of crowned woman and man heads. Enchanted symbols of longing and unfulfilled love between a married Moor and a Sicilian girl. The story says that infuriated by his deceit, she decapitated him, so he could never go back home. Then the girl transformed his head into a vase and grew basil inside, watered with her tears.
Terraces and gardens all around Sicily wear the scent of eternal love.
Obviously, the legend comes with a footnote. Don’t try this at home!
The second, the pigne di Caltagirone are decorative ceramic pine cones symbolising prosperity, fertility, welcoming, and good luck. These decorate all ancient houses, their entrance pillars, balconies, thrones of kings, everything in need of exquisite and monumental.
🍋 Ceramiche Di Sicilia
Moor Heads, Copyright © Ceramiche Di Sicilia
This ceramics store has a large selection of vibrant and eye-catching Moor heads. Some follow the traditional, fruity line, while others are an unexpected, conceptualized version featuring elongated faces.
Also the pine cones go beyond the usual, simple and functionless statues and become bases for grand lamps or fruit bowls. Handmade in Palermo, bringing into far-away homes all the bright features of Sicily and precision of craftmanship.
- 📌 Address: Via Cavour, 111, Palermo (Google Maps)
🍋 Tre Erre Ceramiche
Moor Heads, Copyright © Ceramiche Tre Erre
A more than 40 years old family business, with a sense for high quality and rare art pieces. Event if the the pieces don’t lose their significance, they are promotors for a completely different kind of Sicilian artistic manifestation.
Their collection has a quite unique elegance given by darker, earthly tones, while still keeping a strong vibrance through an extremely high-gloss surface. And apart from the traditional majolica tiles, pine cones and Moor heads, the store sells also reproductions of the ancient, baroque-style “Albarelli” jars. Closed with a cork lid, the recipients were once used to store medicinal herbs.
I totally love it!
- 📌 Address: Via Roma, 358, 90139 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Rare Rugs | Tappeti Shahidi
Persian Carpets in Palermo, Copyright © Shahidi
You can’t separate Palermo from its strong Oriental influence. At its essence, Palermo has been the meeting point of Byzantine and Arabic, still flourishing today due to all these mixed attributes. In this sense, one lovely place to shop in Palermo is Tapetti Shahidi, an Iranian rug workshop.
In here, Ataollah Shahidi has been reviving for more than 30 years the Persian carpets art, adding to the vintage patina of this marvellous Sicilian city. It’s really worth a visit!
- 📌 Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 204, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Sicilian Pupi | Antonio Pasqualino Museum
Renaissance paladins of Charlemagne’s court
We’ve all fallen in love with Pinocchio as children. And there is a place in Palermo where wooden puppets like him live: Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum.
Opera dei Pupi is a long-living tradition in Sicily using such pupets. And pupo is the word defining wooden puppet on strings, a centuries old Sicilian marionette. One articulated, human-like creature easily coming to life in the skilled hands of a master puppeteer.
And thousands of them animate the 19th century Hotel de France, now a Museum, as part of one of the grandest international marionettes exhibition and occasional shows. Behind this whole magic stands Salvatore Bumbello, puppet maker, master artisan, creator of thousands and thousands of string-hanging fellows.
Hanging from the ceiling, near the ticket counter, among other toys and gifts, the puppets are maybe one of the most original souvenirs to take back home from Palermo.
- 📌 Address: P.za Antonio Pasqualino, 5, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Palermo’s Miniature Buildings | CittaCotte
Miniature of Porta Nuova, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License on Wikipedia.
Vincenzo Vizzari, an Italian architect, has dedicated 30 years of his life and career to creating terracotta miniatures of buildings and monuments inside Palermo and around Sicily.
Tiny handmade reproductions of architectural masterpieces of Palermo such as the palaces, theatres and ancient gates of the city decorate his store and workshop. It is somehow a parallel universe of small scale, precious Sicilian souvenirs.
- 📌 Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 120, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy (Google Maps)
Palermo Airport Store, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com
Well, that’s the final frontier for Sicilian gifts. If you forgot to buy souvenirs, Palermo airport will save you. There is a relatively small newspaper store where you can also find authentic Sicilian gifts. Just as a safeguard before your departure.
I finally saw here Martoranas, the Palermitan marzipan sweets, in the form of fruits and vegetables, among other tasty Italian treats!!