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A trip to Palermo will allow travelers to discover true Italy, where ancient history and modern entertainment are combined. This ancient city, whose foundation dates back to the eighth century BC, has everything you need for a good seaside resort. The capital of the island of Sicily is consistently included in the ranking of the best holiday destinations in the country. And rave reviews complete the image of the city with stunning architecture, a variety of historical monuments and a unique national flavor. When planning a visit to a city that has been under the control of various peoples in its history, it is worth deciding in advance which sights of Palermo to visit. The fact is that the monuments are literally at every step, but there are those that deserve the most attention.
To help you get the most out of your trip, we offer you to study the list, which presents the most famous and popular places. Please note that there is a lot of interesting things not only in the Sicilian capital itself, but also in its environs, for example, in the town of Cefalu, which the locals call little Venice. While traveling, you will see numerous sights of Italy, not only world-famous, but also those that only the locals know about.
List of the main sights of Palermo
In terms of the number of places that a tourist can appreciate, the city is able to compete with many popular resorts, including Naples and Verona. Here is an overview of those you should definitely visit:
1. Porta Nuova Gate
Majestic New Gate or Porta Nuova Gate < p>They offer to start acquaintance with the New Gate, erected at the end of the sixteenth century after the important victory of Charles V over the Turkish army. The building is located near the Norman Palace and opens the historical part of the capital of Sicily to travelers. Visually, the gates resemble a triumphal arch with a luxurious superstructure and a unique decorative finish. Against the general background, a pyramidal roof with a mosaic image of an eagle and sculptural images of Atlanteans on the facade stand out. Less than a hundred years after the construction, the structure was destroyed, and two years later it was reconstructed. The new gates are included in all sightseeing tours of the city, but you can admire them without a guide, and it is best to do this in the morning, when there are no crowds of people around and you can feel all the grandeur of the medieval building.
2. Palatine Chapel< /h3>
South facade of the Palatine Chapel with arches on Corinthian columns
The interior of the Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace in Palermo Vaido Otsar
The Palatine Chapel is one of the oldest chapels in the city. It was originally built as a church at the Palazzo dei Normanni, where members of the Sicilian royal family could pray. Made in the Arab-Norman style with Byzantine mosaic elements and carved ceiling decoration. Since the time of construction in the 12th century, a significant part of the interior decoration has been preserved, in particular, granite and marble columns separating the side naves of the basilica from the central part. An indescribable impression is made by the mosaic floor decorated in the Cosmatesque technique.
Official website: https://www.cappellapalatinapalermo
3. Cathedral of the Assumption
Park in front of the Cathedral of the Assumption
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin – when visiting this tourist site, pay special attention to the burial places of the kings of Sicily and the emperors of Germany, whose reign on the island is considered a period of cultural and economic prosperity. If you want to learn more about the history of this amazing building and other ancient buildings, it makes sense to book excursions to Palermo – the routes are different, so there are plenty to choose from.
4. Churches of Martoran and San Cataldo
Church of San Cataldo
The Churches of Martorana and San Cataldo – located on one of the picturesque squares of the city of Bellini, these two buildings are striking in contrast to the architecture of the surrounding houses. Visually, San Cataldo resembles a mosque, is the embodiment of the harmony of the Byzantine and Arabic styles. Both churches were built in the twelfth century, but belong to different dioceses and are a must for any tour of the city.
5. Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini
Inside the Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini
The Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini is a Catholic church in the immediate vicinity of Quattro Canti, which experts call one of the best buildings in Sicilian baroque style. Parts of the church from antiquity have been preserved in the crypt.
Check out the beautiful places of Palermo in this wonderful video!
6. Church of St. John the Hermit
View from Benedittini Street towards the Church of St. John the Hermit (on the right) and the refectory of Allie_Caulfield
The interior of the Church of St. John the Hermit in Palermo Stendhal55
The Church of St. John the Hermit is no less original than the buildings on Piazza Bellini, this church was designed in an oriental style, which, according to various sources, was built late 11th or mid 12th century. It is worth going here to admire the huge domes, the arched gallery and the crucifix made of wood, preserved from the 15th century.
7. Sea Square in Palermo
Sea Square in Palermo José Luiz
Sea Square with stunning views and solemn decoration, from where you can go for a walk in the garden Garibaldi with trees over three hundred years old;
8. Teatro Massimo
Side view of the Teatro Massimo
A truly legendary historical monument is the Massimo Theatre, which for centuries bears the title of the largest theater in Europe in terms of capacity (it can accommodate 3,000 spectators). It is distinguished by unsurpassed acoustics and neoclassical architecture with the addition of ancient Greek temple elements. The theater, designed by Giovanni Battista, was built for 23 years, while the creator himself did not wait for the end of the work and died, so his son had to do the finishing touches.
Official site: http: //www.teatromassimo.it/eng/
9. Politeama Theater
Facade of the Politeama Theater
Another point in our overview of the sights of Palermo, but by no means the least interesting for travelers, is the Politeama Theater in the heart of the capital of the island. It was surprisingly quickly built (work began in 1867 and ended 7 years later). The building is characterized by a neoclassical style, and there are similarities with ancient Roman architecture. Here you can not only admire the beauty of bronze sculptures and facade decoration, but also visit a gallery of modern art or a music concert.
Official website: http://www.orchestrasinfonicasiciliana< /p>
10. Puppet Museum
Exhibits of the Dan Bock Puppet Museum
Puppet Museum – here you can feel like a brilliant puppeteer or, conversely, be at the mercy of thousands of puppets traditional for Sicily on strings (there are 3.5 thousand exhibits in total in the collection). The founder of the museum is the talented surgeon A. Pasqualini, who in the seventies of the last century managed to realize the idea of creating a museum of various puppets collected from all regions of the country.
Official website: https://www.museodellemarionette
11. Archaeological Museum of Antonio Salinas
Room with Roman exhibits in the archaeological museum Bjs
The former monastery, and now the Museum of Archeology named after Antonio Salinas, on the territory of which the temple of St. Ignatius and the chapel of St. Philip Neri are located. The complex, designed by Antonio Muttone, was built in the 17th century and became a repository of art objects of Ancient Greece and the Phoenician state in 1866. It received its name in honor of one of its directors, who made a will and donated 6,000 exhibits to the museum collection. Guests of the city are offered a variety of expositions, but most of all tourists are interested in monuments of the prehistoric era and the results of excavations of the ancient settlement of Salinunte in the south of the island.
12. Capuchin catacombs
Underground grave of the Museum of the Catacombs de Cappuccini Gmihail at Serbian Wikipedia
The Capuchin catacombs are mystical underground galleries, in which there are more than 8 thousand unburied bodies that have turned into mummies since the burial. The remains belong to representatives of the local elite: nobles, prominent scientists, the top of the clergy, etc., and some of them are embalmed, the other looks like skeletons, the third group is mummies. This is a unique museum where you can look at the sitting, standing, hanging bodies of the dead: some are located one by one, others are combined into thematic compositions.
Official site: http://www.palermocatacombs.com/
13. Pretoria Fountain
View of the Pretoria Fountain
Another interesting and unusual place is the Fountain of Shame, built in the sixteenth century on Pretoria Square. He received an unusual name due to the fact that the sculptor decorated his creation in the Baroque style with sculptures of nude figures. It is noteworthy that the order for construction was given by a church located nearby – its ministers made an order in the hope that the fountain would be a salvation for residents from the summer heat. Despite the general indignation, the building was not demolished, but the townspeople, going to the service, were ashamed to look at it, which became the reason for the second name.
14. Fountain “Genius of the Revolution Square”
Fountain “Genius of Revolution Square” Palazzo Isnello – Flickr
The fountain that symbolizes the city, called the “Genius of the Revolution Square” or “The Genius of Palermo”, is the personification of the rich life of the Sicilian capital, where representatives of different cultures and ethnic groups live. Many legends are associated with its creation, according to one of which the sculptor depicted a mysterious divine essence with a snake, which was the incarnation of Scipio Africanus. It is believed that it was thanks to her that the inhabitants were able to withstand the attack of the troops of Carthage. Subsequently, in the 19th century, the fountain became a gathering place for citizens who fought against the power of the Bourbons. A trip to the fountain will allow you to plunge deeper into the atmosphere of freedom that reigns in the resort and better understand its inhabitants.
Palermo attractions: what else to see in Palermo?
15. Palermo Botanical Garden
Corner of the Palermo Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Palermo is an amazing place where already at the beginning of summer you can see ripe oranges, admire the ficuses brought from Australia in the middle of the 19th century and just walk around the territory of 10 hectares. Over twelve thousand plants await visitors, including huge palm trees that create the feeling of being at a resort. Particularly noteworthy are cacti, bamboo, a variety of tropical trees and incredibly beautiful blue lilies that bloom in the Alps and Spain. At the entrance, you will not be met by Palermo guides, as at other attractions, but by the bust of Vincenzo Tineo, the famous Italian botanist who worked at the local university in the 18th century.
16. Mondello Beach
Mondello beach panorama
Mondello Beach – earned a reputation as one of the best beaches in Palermo, Mondello looked like an ordinary swamp a hundred years ago, but thanks to the investments of local aristocrats and the talent of Italian engineers, the area was transformed. Entrance to the coastal zone is free, and dozens of luxurious villas have been erected around which you can stroll along and admire unusual architectural compositions. The beach area with the purest sand stretches for more than 2 kilometers, and around there is a natural park where you can organize a fun picnic with family or friends.
17. Cafe Caf 113
Italian pizza is included in the assortment of the cafe
Cafe 113 in the suburbs of the city – the atmosphere of complete relaxation reigns here, and the open roof allows you to enjoy not only amazing food, but also the view of the night sky. Fans of traditional Italian pizza flock here from all over the area, which, according to visitors, is simply divine here.
18. Renzo Barbera Stadium
Match at Renzo Barber Stadium Hammersfan
The Renzo Barbera Stadium, built in the early 1930s, was where the 1996 FIFA World Cup matches were held. The arena can accommodate up to 37 thousand spectators and used to be called Michele Marrone, Littorio (first name), La Favorita, and after the death of the president of the Palermo football club at the beginning of the 21st century, the stadium was renamed in his honor.
Now you know the best, according to the recommendations of most travelers, the sights of Palermo. It remains only to decide which of them to visit first, taking into account your preferences and the amount of free time. However, no matter where you stay, and no matter how many days you spend in the capital of the largest Italian island, your trip will be unforgettable!
Official website: https://palermocalcio.it /en/
19. Norman Palace
View from Piazza Independenza on the facade of the Norman Palace in Palermo Jorge Franganillo
On the outskirts of the historical part of Palermo, you can see the Norman Palace, which was once the residence of the kings of Sicily. The history of the castle began in the 9th century, and over the centuries, at different times, the ancient Romans, Phoenicians, Spaniards and Normans worked on it. Therefore, the eclectic façade of the palace reflects different eras; its characteristic elements can literally read the history of the city and everything you need to know about Palermo. The most famous and valuable part of the palace is the Palatine Chapel, which was once the personal chapel of the Sicilian kings; magnificent mosaics have been preserved here. Particularly noteworthy is the mosaic depicting Christ surrounded by a host of angels, a granite floor lined with mosaics, and a 12th-century ceiling made of carved wood. Today, meetings of the Assembly are held in the Norman Palace, and therefore the visiting time is limited – on weekdays you can visit the palace and the chapel, on weekends you can access the chapel and some exhibitions.
20. Ziza Palace
The square in front of the medieval palace of Cisa in the western part of the city of Palermo User:Matthias Süßen
Some museums in Palermo are located inside ancient palaces – an example of this is the Cisa Palace, which once served as the summer residence of William II. This medieval 12th-century palazzo is an example of the Arab-Norman style, it began to be built under William I. The monarch died before completion, leaving a beautiful palace to his heir, who greatly appreciated oriental culture. Over the centuries, the building has repeatedly undergone a number of alterations, as a result of which it has partly lost its original appearance. In the 70-80s of the 20th century, Tsiza underwent a thorough restoration, after which it turned into a museum. Today, the building still retains some elements that give it an oriental flavor, but features of European architecture can also be traced. Inside, there is the Museum of Islamic Art with a collection of artifacts collected in the Mediterranean.
21. Chiaramonte Palace
Facade of the 14th century Chiaramonte Palace in Palermo Bjs
This amazing palace was built in the 14th century by the Sicilian aristocrat Manfredi III Chiaramonte, who opposed Aragonese rule all his life. Later, the castle housed the Sicilian governors, and from the 16th century there was a prison where heretics were kept. In the 20th century, the executive authorities moved to another building, and restoration work was carried out in the palace. The first place to go in order to be impressed by the atmosphere of the prison cells is the lower floors and the basement. This place is a gloomy legacy of the period of the Inquisitions – prisoners who were in captivity painted the walls of the premises with drawings. Basically, these are images on religious themes, mainly a reflection of biblical scenes. The most interesting places of the wall paintings concentrated images of saints, here you can also find inscriptions and poems dedicated to death and fate. Pierced hearts, the mouth of hell, the righteous and sinners, instruments of torture, images of justice and many other allegories were skillfully depicted by the prisoners of the castle..
22. Monreale Cathedral
Two powerful towers on the main (western) facade of the Monreale Cathedral in Palermo Berthold Werner
Christ the Pantocrator in the apse of the Monreale Cathedral in Palermo Tango7174
In the vicinity, the Palermo route leads to the small town of Montreal, located just 5 km from the city. Here is an impressive temple, the most valuable monument of Arab-Norman architecture – the Cathedral in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, founded by King William II. The majestic building has absorbed Norman, Sicilian, Arab and Byzantine motifs: the complex structure of galleries, powerful patterned walls, an asymmetric facade crowned with 2 towers of different sizes attract attention. The interior design is even more impressive – Corinthian columns rush upward from the marble floor, which support vaults with Byzantine mosaics. It is hard to even imagine that the total area of mosaics here is about 10,000 sq.m. Therefore, Monreale Cathedral is the best thing to see in Palermo and the surrounding area without going far out of town.
23. Pietro Doderlein Zoological Museum
< /p> Exhibition halls of the University Museum of Zoology Pietro Doderlein in Palermo Stendhal55
The Pietro Doderlein Museum is the university museum of zoology in Palermo. The museum exhibits more than 5,000 specimens of invertebrates and vertebrates, many of which are extinct species in Italy and Sicily. The museum also has a unique collection of butterflies and insects. A visit to the Zoological Museum is sure to please both adults and children.
Official website: https://www.coopculture
24. Villa Bonanno Park
Palm trees of the public garden (Villa Bonanno) against the backdrop of the Palermo Cathedral on a sunny day
As a rest after rich sightseeing tours of historical monuments, it is recommended to visit non-tourist places in Palermo, where you can just take a breath, escape from the endless flickering of palace interiors, centuries-old facades and just enjoy nature. A good solution is to go to Villa Bonanno Park, located in the very center of Victoria Square. This is a fairly large area of the garden with rich tropical vegetation, the ruins of ancient Roman buildings and a large number of sculptural compositions. In the central part of the park, a monument to Philip IV rises on a pedestal, not far away you can see the marble bust of Mayor Pietro Bonanno, after whom the park is named. Not far from these sculptures are the ruins of Romanesque buildings of the 1st century AD. Currently, the park, along with many buildings of the historical center, is undergoing extensive restoration, so it will soon be transformed and become even more beautiful.
25. Palazzo Abatellis
Regional Art Gallery of Sicily within the walls of the Palazzo Abatellis in the Calsa quarter of Palermo
In Palermo, during the sightseeing ride, the sights meet the guests of the city in the Kalma quarter – here is the 15th century Palazzo Abatellis palace, which houses the Regional Art Gallery of Sicily within its walls. Once the palace, made in the Gothic-Catalan style, served as a residence for the head of the Sicilian port, Francesco Abatellis. After his death, the wife of Abatellis bequeathed the palazzo to the nunnery, and in the course of a small reconstruction, a chapel was added. During the Second World War, the palazzo suffered terrible destruction, but was subsequently carefully restored, and already in 1954 an art gallery was founded here. Today, a walk around Palermo should certainly include a visit to this attraction – within the walls of the palace you can see a rich collection of works of art, many of which were purchased in monasteries after secularization – these are frescoes, paintings and other fragments of decoration.
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