The capital and largest metropolis of Sicily, Palermo is about on the island’s northwest shoreline, overlooking the glittering waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, with the mainland of Italy mendacity far off within the distance. As a result of its strategic location on the coronary heart of the Mediterranean, it has lengthy acted as a crossroads, with quite a few cultures, civilisations, and cuisines having left their mark.
Based greater than 2,700 years in the past by the Phoenicians, Palermo’s vacationer points of interest now embrace a lot of lovely Byzantine mosaics and arresting Arab structure, in addition to numerous centuries-old church buildings, palaces and monuments. Suffering from spectacular historic and cultural landmarks, this checklist of greatest issues to do in Palermo ought to enable you discover this fascinating metropolis.
15. San Giovanni degli Eremiti
Surrounded by a peaceable backyard stuffed with cacti, citrus bushes, and palm bushes, San Giovanni degli Eremiti is a beautiful little church that lies within the centre of Palermo. Constructed within the sixth century, it reveals a pleasant mixture of Arab and Norman architectural kinds and is most famous for its distinctive pink domes. Rebuilt and restored quite a few instances over the centuries, the small church additionally has an exquisite cloister for guests to wander round, in addition to some positive brickwork, frescoes and artworks inside.
14. Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri
Situated only a brief distance from Palermo’s scenic seafront is Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri, as soon as the residence of the highly effective and rich Lord Manfredi III. Generally known as Steri Fort, it boasts some beautiful structure, and its Corridor of the Barons’ wood ceiling is coated in magnificent murals. Whereas the palace definitely appears to be like engaging and unassuming, numerous folks have been imprisoned and tortured inside its partitions when it was later used because the headquarters for the Holy Inquisition. These days a museum, its informative panels, artworks, and torture units supply up an interesting if at instances darkish take a look at the palace’s seven hundred years of historical past.
13. Mercato di Ballaro
Colourful and chaotic in equal measure, Mercato di Ballaro’s closely laden stands and stalls snake their means by means of town for a number of blocks and will be discovered simply to the southeast of Palazzo dei Normanni. The energetic but laidback avenue market is a great deal of enjoyable to peruse; distributors promote the whole lot from fruit and greens to contemporary fish, tasty hams, and low-cost garments. As well as, you possibly can pattern a few of Sicily’s positive native produce at among the stands, or cease off for a meal at one of many eating places lining the market route.
12. Santa Caterina
Set within the coronary heart of Palermo’s historic heart, Santa Caterina is a wonderful church that includes a powerful mixture of Baroque, Rococo, and Renaissance architectural kinds. Constructed to be a hospice within the 14th century, it was later transformed right into a Dominican convent earlier than lastly being become a church. Whereas its fabulous facade already appears to be like a deal with, its charming cloister and lofty dome are simply as spectacular, and its rooftop terrace affords luxurious views over town. The star attraction, nonetheless, is its breathtaking Baroque inside, coated in improbable frescoes and work with astounding artworks, altars, and sculptures on present.
11. Fontana Pretoria
Regardless of being surrounded by fairly palaces and ignored by Santa Caterina’s imposing dome, Fontana Pretoria dominates and defines the piazza of the identical identify with its pleasing presence. Now one in all Palermo’s hottest and photographed landmarks, the fetching fountain was first created for a Tuscan villa earlier than being positioned in its current place in 1573. Designed by Florentine sculptor Francesco Camilliani, Fontana Pretoria sports activities many spectacular sculptures and statues, with nude nymphs and legendary animals mendacity subsequent to the Twelve Olympians. With such lovely backdrops behind them, the finely sculpted figures of Zeus, Poseidon, and Apollo definitely make for some improbable photographs.
10. Palazzo Conte Federico
Set proper within the coronary heart of the historic heart, Palazzo Conte Federico is without doubt one of the oldest buildings in the entire of Palermo. Constructed atop and out of the traditional Punic metropolis partitions, the celebrated palace dates to the 12th century, with Arab and Norman architectural influences on present. Dwelling to richly embellished halls and galleries, it boasts a lot of divine artworks, sculptures, and frescoes that date to varied epochs, in addition to marble staircases and unbelievable stone carvings. Rebuilt and transformed quite a few instances over the centuries, the well-preserved palace is now a preferred vacationer attraction in Palermo and remains to be the residence of the present rely and countess Federico.
9. Capuchin Catacombs
As charming as they’re creepy, the Capuchin Catacombs are a subterranean sequence of tunnels and passageways lined by the embalmed our bodies of greater than eight,00zero former Palermitans. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the Capuchin friars of the monastery above would protect the our bodies and place them within the chilly catacombs under. Through the years, this type of burial acquired status, so corridors at the moment are grouped by energy, gender, standing, and faith. As they’re nonetheless clothed of their authentic clothes, wandering between the macabre mummies is a really unsettling expertise, with skeletons trying down upon you from their remaining resting place.
8. La Martorana
Set on the south facet of Piazza Bellini, Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio is a beautiful cathedral boasting arresting artwork and structure. Extra generally generally known as La Martorana, it was constructed within the 12th century and initially conceived to be a mosque. As such, fairly pillars and stylish arches are on present beneath a pleasant domed cupola, whereas Baroque, Islamic, and Romanesque thrives will be seen right here and there. The spotlight is its glittering golden inside coated in breathtaking Byzantine mosaics. These elegant frescoes depict necessary biblical scenes and figures in addition to Roger II, the previous king of Sicily.
7. Monte Pellegrino
Rising dramatically within the distance, Monte Pellegrino lies to the north of town overlooking Palermo Harbour. Described by Goethe because the ‘most lovely promontory on the planet’, the hulking mount towers 606 meters in peak and affords loads of out of doors recreation alternatives. It is vitally widespread with locals and vacationers, who come to take pleasure in its beautiful surroundings and peaceable mountain climbing trails. From its summit, guests can indulge in phenomenal views out over Palermo and the Mediterranean, with extra of Sicily’s mountains to be spied close by.
6. Chiesa del Gesu
Constructed between 1564 and 1633, Chiesa del Gesu is without doubt one of the most necessary and spectacular of Palermo’s Baroque church buildings. Whereas it suffered appreciable harm throughout the Second World Struggle, the church has since been painstakingly rebuilt and restored to its former glory. Beneath its lofty dome, now you can discover sturdy marble columns, colourful stained-glass home windows, and a improbable façade, in addition to engaging cloisters and chapels. Often known as Casa Professa, it showcases some very good carvings, mosaics, and awe-inspiring artworks and frescoes by Pietro Novelli.
5. Quattro Canti
Formally generally known as Piazza Vigliena, Quattro Canti is a wonderful Baroque sq. within the heart of Palermo, on the intersection the place Through Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emmanuele meet. In-built 1608, it’s lined by 4 fetching facades which are semi-circular and virtually symmetrical in design. Every of those sports activities its personal fountain and marble columns, in addition to a statue of one of many 4 Spanish kings of Sicily and a sculpture of one of many patronesses of Palermo. Every facade represents one of many 4 seasons, and over the course of the day, the solar lights up every in flip. This has earnt the picturesque piazza the nickname ‘il teatro del sole’ – the theater of the solar.
4. Spiaggia di Mondello
Mendacity simply 15 minutes to the north of Palermo’s heart is the idyllic white sand seashore of Mondello, set in a scenic spot between the craggy cliffs of Monte Gallo and Monte Pellegrino. As soon as a small fishing village, Mondello grew to become a preferred vacationer vacation spot within the 19th century, with pretty artwork nouveau villas bobbing up alongside its sandy shores. This makes its seafront promenade a delight to amble alongside, with lovely views to be loved from its pier of the encircling mounts and soothing Mediterranean Sea. Very best for sunbathing and swimming, Spiaggia di Mondello attracts simply as many native households because it does sightseers and vacationers.
3. Teatro Massimo
The most important opera home in Italy, Teatro Massimo dominates its environment with its sheer measurement, scale and splendour. Opened in 1897, it showcases an intriguing mixture of historic and classical Sicilian architectural kinds, with colossal columns lining its neoclassical facade. Whereas its elegant and opulent exterior definitely appears to be like a deal with, inside is simply as spectacular: lovely balconies and prettily painted ceilings overlook its awe-inspiring auditorium. To soak up all its positive options and wealthy ornamentation, guests can both take a guided tour of Teatro Massimo or watch a ballet, opera, or classical live performance in its cavernous and stylish confines.
2. Norman Palace
At the moment residence to Sicily’s regional parliament, Palermo’s Norman Palace is without doubt one of the oldest royal residences in Europe. Often known as the Palazzo dei Normanni in Italian, it was constructed again within the ninth century for the Emir of Palermo. After the Normans conquered Sicily, the Arabian palace was reworked, with the unbelievable Cappella Palatina and its lovely Byzantine mosaics added by King Roger II. Exhibiting a powerful mixture of inventive and architectural kinds, in addition to a lot of historic artefacts, the Norman Palace is a superb place to go to if you wish to be taught extra about Palermo and Sicily’s wealthy historical past, tradition and heritage.
1. Palermo Cathedral
Probably the most well-known and photographed constructing within the metropolis, Palermo Cathedral is a feast for the eyes, with fabulous options and astounding structure wherever you look. Constructed atop an earlier Byzantine basilica, the sand-colored cathedral dates to 1185, with varied alterations and additions having been remodeled the centuries. Whereas its elegant arches and geometric designs look very Moorish in type, a beautiful Gothic portal and rearing Renaissance clock tower may also be discovered alongside quite a few cupolas and an imposing dome. Its inside is simply as spectacular – mosaics, sculptures and artworks coat its partitions, which look down on monumental tombs of Sicilian monarchs. On high of this, the cathedral’s treasury holds a great deal of glittering jewels and golden artefacts.