Their first win since November means they move off rock bottom, and to within three points of safety. As for AS Roma, it was their first defeat in five games, as they drop three points away from the Europa League places, and into seventh place.
The visitors really should have taken the lead through Alessandro Florenzi after just three minutes, when a low corner came to the midfielder on the edge of the area, though his shot flashed wide. It set the tone for an end-to-end half, and after seven minutes Fabrizio Miccoli had curled a Palermo free-kick against Maarten Stekelenburg's crossbar.
A goal was inevitable, though surprisingly it was Palermo who took the lead. A glorious cross from Miccoli found Josip Iličić in the box, with the Slovenian taking a touch before slotting it past the Dutch goalkeeper with 20 minutes on the clock.
The goalscorer's compatriot and teammate Jasmin Kurtić smashed the post from the edge of the box seconds later, and should have been made to pay for his miss ten minutes from the break by Francesco Totti. The ball came to il capitano who was lurking on the edge of the area, though his shot was well held by Stefano Sorrentino.
A minutes later, and it was 2-0 to Palermo. A quick counter-attack saw scorer Iličić turning provider for Miccoli, when the former's shot was blocked, leaving it up to the latter to turn the ball into the back of the net. An excellent half for Palermo warranted the two goal advantage, though with the rosanero having thrown away 17 points in the second halves of games this season, it was still no time for celebration.
Roma came out for the second half dominating possession and deciding that shooting on goal was a good idea if they wanted to ever score. Substitute Miralem Pjanić looked lively, though the giallorossi still couldn't find a way through.
Palermo goalkeeper Sorrentino was on top form, and in the end Roma's day was summed up by a goal-line clearance by Steve Von Bergen on the hour, with the Swiss defender miraculously sliding towards goal to keep the ball out. They created chances, though their failure to take them cost them dear.
Palermo: Stefano Sorrentino; Salvatore Aronica, Steve Von Bergen, Ezequiel Muñoz; Andrea Dossena (Santiago García 60), Jasmin Kurtić, Massimo Donati, Edgar Barreto (Alejandro Faurlín 80), Michel Morganella; Fabrizio Miccoli (Paulo Dybala 52), Josip Iličić
Roma: Maarten Stekelenburg; Leandro Castán, Nicolás Burdisso, Iván Piris (Vasilis Torosidis 73); Marquinho, Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Miralem Pjanić 46), Daniele De Rossi, Simone Perrotta (Pablo Osvaldo 46); Alessandro Florenzi, Erik Lamela; Francesco Totti
Goals: Iličić 21 (P) Miccoli 35 (P)