Palermo – often referred to as “The Happy City” - is the capital and largest city of the Italian island of Sicily. Palermo combines a rich tapestry of historical and scenic sights with a bustling atmosphere, making the city a popular destination for expats and international visitors alike. Famous for its Vucciria fruit, vegetable and fish market and the Palazzo de Normanni – widely regarded as one of the best examples of Norman architecture – Palermo provides something to suit all tastes. Expats living in Palermo can expect a compact but vibrant city, with most of the town's shops and facilities within easy walking distance of each other. Like many Italian cities, Palermo has an excellent selection of local produce and food stores. However, expatriates in Palermo who are missing familiar brands from home can stock up at the large supermarkets in the Mondello and Circonvallazione downtown neighborhoods.
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As with any international relocation, moving to Palermo may not be without its challenges. Finding an apartment to rent and figuring out the logistics of shipping your possessions to the city will likely be among your biggest challenges. Learning a little Italian could certainly help you in these matters, and may also make it easier to socialize and meet others once you arrive and join the ranks of expats living in Palermo. Palermo's international airport is around 20 miles from the center of the city, although buses and taxis run frequently between the two. If you need assistance during your move, check out the InterNations platform. Our forums and discussion groups allow our numerous expatriate members to discuss a wide range of issues related to international relocation, life abroad and countless other topics, and as such, they often contain plenty of good advice for those looking to move abroad.
If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need an Italian work visa before you can start working in Palermo, or indeed anywhere in Italy. The Italian government maintains a quote system of foreign work visas, with only a certain amount of foreign workers allowed in per year. You will likely need an Italian company to sponsor you in your visa application, meaning that you should definitely look for work in Palermo before relocating to the area permanently. The Sicilian job market can be a little slow from time to time, meaning that you may need to exercise some patience to get a position with a good salary. You might find it useful to check out InterNations’ Expat Magazine, which features – next to useful articles on general expatriation topics such as working abroad and cross-cultural communication – also content written by our own members who can offer stories and information based on their own experiences of finding work and living in a foreign town or city.