The beautiful Italian island of Sicily sits on the tip of Italy’s boot. The capital Palermo is located in the northwest and borders the Mediterranean Sea. Known as a university town, the city also has a reputation as a Mafia city. Particularly at the end of the last century, they were in the news more than once.
According to RCTOYSADVICE, Palermo is a wonderful city to visit. Cruise ships regularly arrive at the port and more and more people are reaching the city through the airport ‘Aerporto di Palermo Falcone e Borsellino’. The rich history of this city is clearly visible. Despite the fact that the Second World War has wreaked havoc here, there are more than enough historical sights to visit. Very striking are the different architectural styles that you encounter here. The Mediterranean climate makes a city like Palermo an interesting destination that you can visit almost all year round.
Top 10 sights of Palermo
#1. Palazzo dei Normanni
At the impressive Piazza della Vittoria in the capital Palermo, several historical sights can be found. So is the Palazzo dei Normanni, which is also known as Palazzo Reale. This palace, built mainly in Renaissance style, is now the office where the Sicilian parliament meets. Oldest parts of the foundation are from the ninth century. At that time, kings who represented the kingdom of Sicily lived there. In the architectural style there are also clear traces that come from the medieval Arab-Norman art style. The Palazzo dei Normanni is partly accessible to the public for a fee.
#2. Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio
The beautiful Martorana church is located on the Piazza Bellini. The most special thing about this church are the many transformations it has undergone. Already in the year 1143, the church was founded under the watchful eye of George of Antioch, King Roger II. There are various styles to be discovered in architecture. Especially considering the interior. Greek, Asian, Norman and Islamic details alternate very well. Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio is therefore seen as one of the most beautiful churches in Italy.
#3. Stanze al Genio
The eighteenth century palace ‘Palazzo Torre Piraino’ houses a remarkably large collection of tiles. The rooms of the palace are ideal for displaying the diverse collection in a special way. Some tiles are centuries old and others hyper modern. The content of this museum is a collection of more than thirty years, which is still being expanded. The ceramic art collection shows the flourishing time when all kinds of art movements influenced the country and the city of Palermo.
#4. Catacomb dei Cappuccini
This cemetery of the Capuchins was built sometime in the sixteenth century. The current cemetery at the abbey became quite full and they had to move to another location. Where at first it was only allowed to bury monks, it was later decided that against payment of a donation it was possible to be buried as a non-cleric. In the meantime, you can now visit the ‘Catacombe dei Cappucini’ and witness more than eight thousand mummified persons who are now housed there. The most bizarre is the last placed corpse of Rosalie Lombardo in 1920. She is still completely intact.
#5. Palermo Cathedral
The imposing twelfth century building on Corso Vittoria Emanuele attracts millions of visitors every year. It was built according to the Arab-Norman architectural style that you often encounter in Palermo. The most radical restorations took place at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga Filangieri. The four large towers were placed there in the fourteenth century. Meanwhile, we are now looking at a cathedral that is not inferior to an average palace. In the cathedral you can admire several tombs of influential people such as King Frederick II, Roger II and various saints.
#6. Teatro Massimo Palermo
The opera house of Palermo is undisputedly ‘Teatro Massimo’. The majestic appearance matches the reputation perfectly. The opera house is located in Piazza Verdi and is one of the largest operas in Europe. After many years of construction, the doors were finally opened in 1897. During this festive event, the sounds of Verdi’s Falstaff were heard.
#7. Museo Archeologico Regionale
In the archaeological museum of Palermo, special and remarkable objects are exhibited that form a picture of the Phoenician and ancient Greek era. By means of various works of art you also get a clear insight into the history of Sicily itself. The museum is located in the Olivella complex. The largest collection comes from the archaeologist Antonio Salinas. Among the sights are sarcophagi, sculptures, objects found at archaeological sites and jewelry.
The museum is located on Via Bara all’Olivella.
#8. Orto botanico di Palermo
The botanical garden of Palermo is located at the city’s university. All kinds of researches are carried out in the garden that are used as teaching material in medical studies. The history of the garden goes back to the eighteenth century. The botanical garden of ‘Accademia dei Regi Studi’ was much smaller at the time, but it was already set up for medical studies. Nowadays the ‘Orto Botanico di Palermo’ is quite large. You now have an aquarium, flower gardens, greenhouses, bio-ecological zones and a herbarium. It is also a wonderful place to leave the heat and bustle of the city behind.
#9. Villa Giulia
This predominantly green and first public park in Palermo is also known as Villa del Popolo or Villa Flor. It once belonged to Giulia Geuvara, the wife of a Spanish monarch. The not too large park offers wonderful cooling on the sometimes very hot days in the summer. Several benches under the trees are therefore popular with both locals and visitors to the city. The structures at the central fountain were designed by Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda. This Italian architect also designed the Teatro Politeama in Palermo. The entrance to the park is free.
#10. Fontana Pretoria
In the immediate vicinity of the Santa Caterina church on the Piazza Pretoria you can admire a particularly beautiful fountain. Originally the fountain was designed for the garden of Don Pietro di Toledo in Florence. The commission was given to the sculptor Francesco Camilliani, who was a student of Baccio Bandinelli at the time. In the year 1573 the fountain was transported to Palermo in six hundred and forty-four parts. Forty-eight statues have been created on the fountain, depicting various people from mythology and Greek gods.