Palermo


Chief town of Sicily and fifth ranking municipality in terms of population, Palermo is the crossroads of the cultures and civilisations that have conquered Sicily over the centuries. Founded by the Phoenicians between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, the territory of Palermo was subsequently ruled by the Romans, Greeks, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Saracens and Arabs. With the arrival of the Normans in 1061 the city reached a period of splendour attributable to the construction of religious and civil buildings in Arab-Norman style.

Since 2015 the Arab-Norman Palermo has been in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The quarter inhabited by the functionaries of the Norman court was the Albergheria, which is now the location of the most famous market of Palermo, the Ballarò market, the Church of the Gesù (built in 1590) and the Palace of the Normans, located at the western end of the quarter. The Palace of the Normans, dating from the 9th century, is the oldest royal palace in Europe and owes its present appearance and the magnificent mosaics to an extensive reconstruction in the Norman period. The palace was rebuilt around the year 1130 on the orders of Roger II and contains the Palatine Chapel, the main tourist attraction of the city. It is now the seat of the regional assembly of Sicily. Another important example of the Arab-Norman style in the Albergheria quarter is the Church of Saint John of the Hermits, surmounted by five cupolas and surrounded by citrus fruit gardens. The other monuments in the city inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List are the Church of San Cataldo, the Church of Saint Mary’s of the Admiral, the Admiral’s Bridge and the Zisa palace.

 

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, more simply known as Palermo Cathedral, dates from 1184 when its construction started. It contains royal Norman tombs and the treasures, a small collection of sacred reliquaries and jewels from the Norman period, including a tooth and the ashes of Saint Rosaly. The saint, who according to catholic tradition saved Palermo from the plague in 1624, is venerated throughout Sicily. The Feast of Saint Rosaly enlivens Palermo from 11 to 15 July with a procession in which a 17th century triumphal chariot is drawn by oxen and accompanied by the faithful in period costume. The procession winds its way from the Royal Palace along the Cassaro (the oldest street in Palermo) to the sea, then it stops in front of the Cathedral and Quattro Canti (Piazza Vigliena) where the mayor climbs onto the chariot and places a crown of flowers as a gift to the saint while the public shout «Viva Palermo e Santa Rosalia» (Long live Palermo and Saint Rosaly). On the 14th there is a fireworks display in the evening which goes on until late into the night and the celebrations end on the 15th with the Solemn Procession of the reliquaries.

The multicultural nature of Palermo can also be seen in the cuisine, where the pastries are creative and contain ingredients introduced by Arab culture such as pistachios, cinnamon and almond paste. Besides the pastry, with cassate and cannoli, the street food is highly renowned with its arancina (stuffed rice ball), spleen sandwich, pane e panelle (chickpea fritters), bread with croquettes, Sfincione (spongy pizza bread with topping) and much more.

 

 

Informations


What to see


The Cuba

The Cuba

The Chamber of Wonders

The Chamber of Wonders

GAM Modern Art Gallery

GAM Modern Art Gallery

Santa Chiara Complex

Santa Chiara Complex

Church of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto (Church of the Badia Nuova)

Church of Santa Maria di Monte Oliveto (Church of the Badia Nuova)

Church of Santa Maria della Catena

Church of Santa Maria della Catena

Church of Santa Maria del Piliere

Church of Santa Maria del Piliere

Church of Santa Caterina la Vetere

Church of Santa Caterina la Vetere

Church of Sant'Agostino

Church of Sant'Agostino

Church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi

Church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi

Church of San Giorgio dei Genovesi

Church of San Giorgio dei Genovesi

Gancia Church

Gancia Church

Church of the Immacolata Concezione al Capo

Church of the Immacolata Concezione al Capo

Church of the Angelo Custode

Church of the Angelo Custode

Church of SS Salvatore

Church of SS Salvatore

Porta d’Ossuna Catacombs

Porta d’Ossuna Catacombs

Castello di Maredolce

Castello di Maredolce

Chapel and Loggia dell'Incoronazione

Chapel and Loggia dell'Incoronazione

Cocchieri  (Coachmen’s) Chapel

Cocchieri (Coachmen’s) Chapel

Church of the Forty Martyrs at Guilla

Church of the Forty Martyrs at Guilla

Villa di Napoli

Villa di Napoli

The Water Towers

The Water Towers

Tower of San Nicolò all’Alberghiera

Tower of San Nicolò all’Alberghiera

Santa Cecilia Theatre

Santa Cecilia Theatre

Bellini Theatre

Bellini Theatre

Palazzo Riso

Palazzo Riso

Palazzo Asmundo

Palazzo Asmundo

Palazzo Alliata di Villafranca

Palazzo Alliata di Villafranca

Palazzo Ajutamicristo

Palazzo Ajutamicristo

Oratory of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria

Oratory of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria

Oratory of San Mercurio

Oratory of San Mercurio

Oratory of San Lorenzo

Oratory of San Lorenzo

Oratory of Santa Cita

Oratory of Santa Cita

Oratory of Santi Pietro e Paolo

Oratory of Santi Pietro e Paolo

Salinas Museum

Salinas Museum

Capo Market

Capo Market

Mikveh

Mikveh

Vucciria Market

Vucciria Market

Diocesan Museum

Diocesan Museum

Church of Santa Caterina

Church of Santa Caterina

Church of Santa Maria in Valverde

Church of Santa Maria in Valverde

The Capuchin Catacombs

The Capuchin Catacombs

Castello a Mare

Castello a Mare

Church of San Matteo

Church of San Matteo

Church of San Francesco d'Assisi

Church of San Francesco d'Assisi

Church of San Domenico

Church of San Domenico

Church of the Carmine Maggiore

Church of the Carmine Maggiore

Church of Sant'Anna

Church of Sant'Anna

Church of SS Trinità  (called La Magione)

Church of SS Trinità (called La Magione)

Palazzo Bonocore

Palazzo Bonocore

Politeama Theatre

Politeama Theatre

Massimo Theatre

Massimo Theatre

Porta Felice

Porta Felice

Flea Market

Flea Market

Ballarò market

Ballarò market


Share


KEEP UP TO DATE WITH OUR SCHEMES

Follow our social channels and subscribe to the newsletter