Marionette © Leonardo Pilara
One of Palermo's most unique attractions is the engaging Museo Internazionale delle Marionette, a museum dedicated to the art of puppetry, an age-old Sicilian form of entertainment. The Opera dei Pupi of southern Italy is famous and Palermo, Catania and Naples all have distinct marionette traditions which are fascinating to witness. Free shows are often put on in summer, but the museum collection itself, the greatest of its kind in the world, is entertainment enough. The museum was opened in 1975 to preserve local traditions and the collection consists of more than 3,500 puppets. Adjoining the museum is the library of Guiseppe Leggio, which houses about 3,000 books on puppetry and folk traditions; there is also a video library documenting theatrical folk performances and puppet shows from different cultures. Most of the antique puppets on display evoke Norman Sicily, representing chivalrous heroes and Saracen pirates, knights, ladies and troubadours. The collection includes puppets from all over the world, including the Far East and even some English 'Punch and Judy' dolls. The museum will delight children and interest adults and is a great attraction for those travelling to Palermo with kids. Try to catch a show to see the puppets come to life!
Address: Via Butera 1 (around the corner from the Palazzo Chiaramonte), Palermo