Palermo were forced into a sudden death penalty shoot-out, but squeezed past Parma to reach the Coppa Italia semi-finals.
The quarter-finals opened on Tuesday evening at the Stadio Barbera between two of the outsiders for the trophy, but it was clear from the line-ups that the Sicilians were taking this tournament more seriously.
Josip Ilicic sparked the first move with his back heel flick for Mattia Cassani, who then crossed for Fabrizio Miccoli's well-saved volley.
Parma also pushed back with Raffaele Palladino's right-foot strike whistling wide and Valeri Bojinov failing to make the most of an assist.
Palermo impressed more in the first half and forced Nicola Pavarini into a difficult save, tipping the Ilicic rising strike out from under the bar.
Miccoli should've opened the scoring on 28 minutes when a through ball reached him, but with Pavarini and a defender bearing down on him, the Pocket Striker slipped.
Parma were pinned back for much of the half, but had a great chance just before the break. Palladino sprung the offside trap from a Daniele Galloppa pass, but fired off target in a one-on-one with Salvatore Sirigu.
The Rosanero piled on the pressure even more after the restart. Giulio Migliaccio got his head to a Miccoli free kick, but could only skim the crossbar.
Ilicic wasted a couple of very promising counters, including one where he was clear on goal and fired over, while Javier Pastore's mazy solo effort was well blocked.
Parma threw on Sebastian Giovinco and he had an immediate effect, forcing Sirigu into a save with his run to the by-line.
Pavarini was easily the busiest goalkeeper, though, rushing off his line to smother at Pastore's feet, then moments later watching a marvellous strike skim the upright.
Substitute Kasami should have given Palermo victory in stoppages, but Stefano Morrone did just enough to force him wide and he hesitated too much to score. That forced the tie to extra time.
Migliaccio nodded an Antonio Nocerino cross off target, while Pavarini was at full stretch to trap a Cesare Bovo free kick from distance, but still the Sicilians could not break through.
It went to penalties and the worst possible start for both teams, as Hernan Crespo's opener was saved and Pavarini repeated the trick by parrying from Cassani.
Palladino, Bovo, Francesco Modesto, Federico Balzaretti, Antonio Candreva, Antonio Nocerino and Giovinco converted successfully.
Pavarini was booked for his tricks in trying to distract Pastore, but did not prevent the Argentine talent from scoring and forcing sudden death.
Francesco Valiani, however, ballooned over the bar, so youngster Jara Martinez buried his spot-kick to sweep Palermo through to the Coppa Italia semi-final 5-4 on penalties.
They go on to face the winners of Wednesday's Sampdoria-Milan match.
Penalty shoot-out: Crespo (Par, saved), Cassani (Pal, saved), Palladino (Par, goal), Bovo (Pal, goal), Modesto (Par, goal), Balzaretti (Pal, goal), Candreva (Par, goal), Nocerino (Pal, goal), Giovinco (Par, goal), Pastore (Pal, goal), Valiani (Par, miss)
Palermo 0-0 Parma (aet)
Palermo: Sirigu; Cassani, Munoz, Bovo, Balzaretti; Migliaccio, Bacinovic, Nocerino; Pastore, Ilicic (Kasami 92), Miccoli (Martinez 72)
Parma: Pavarini; Zaccardo, Paci, Lucarelli, Modesto; Candreva, Galloppa (Valiani 91), Morrone; Marques (Giovinco 65), Bojinov (Crespo 78), Palladino