Things to do in Palermo

Are you going on holiday to Palermo in Italy? Would you like to know where the best sightseeing attractions in Palermo are? Our sightseeing guide to Palermo gives you the facts & information you’ll want to know

Palermo is the largest town located on the Italian island of Sicily, which is just off the mainland of southern Italy. With a population of 700,000 Palermo is in many ways a modern city, although with a history of more than 800 years as a continually inhabited place, there are plenty of historical sightseeing opportunities. In fact, because of its strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea, Palermo has been invaded and ruled by several different peoples including the Romans, Normans and even the Arabs.

Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral is an interesting place to visit architecturally speaking because it provides an excellent example of a highly unusual blend of architectural styles incorporating both Norman and Arabian influences. The original structure of the Cathedral was laid when Sicily was under Arab rule; however, when the Normans seized control of Sicily it was decided that a Cathedral be built instead. Nevertheless, several interesting facets of distinctly Arabian architectural work remain in the Cathedral including intricate geometric patterns. The inside of the cathedral is dominated by the tombs of several Norman nobles who ruled Sicily.

La Martorana in Palermo

La Martorana in Palermo was originally intended to be a mosque, although when the Arabs lost control of the Sicily it was decided that a church was perhaps a better idea. The majority of the current structure dates back to the 15th century when it first became occupied by nuns of the Benedictine order.  The interior of this church in Palermo has several portraits of 12th century rulers of Palermo as well as some interesting frescos on the walls.

Norman Palace in Palermo

The Norman Palace is a medieval structure originally intended to be the royal home of the Norman rulers of Sicily. Today, this palace in Palermo is used by the Sicilian Parliament.  Certain parts of this palace in Palermo are open to the public for viewing and admission costs €5.  Inside the palace is the Palatine chapel which is worth a visit because of its beautiful mosaics depicting Old Testament scenes.

Palermo Archaeology Museum

The Archaeology Museum in Palermo is housed in what used to be a renaissance monastery. Artefacts are mainly from local excavations although there are also Greek & Roman artefacts as well. Admission costs €4.50.

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