Sights in Palermo

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The Baroque crossroads of the Quattro Canti mark the heart of the inner city of Palermo. Not far from here is Piazza Pretoria, Piazza Cassa di Risparmio and the church of La Martorana. Here is a good starting point for a stroll through the history of Palermo. Going southwest you will pass some nice churches and reach San Giovanni degli Eremiti. From there it is just a few paces north to the Palazzo dei Normanni and the Cappella Palatina. On the far side of Corso V. Emmanuele, one of the city’s main roads, you can see the Cathedral, dating from 1185 with a neoclassical interior.

On a rainy day we recommend some of the famous museums, on a sunny day – of course – we prefer going to the beach at Mondello.

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Cathedral

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Built by the Normans and enlarged in Baroque style another of these architectural combinations you only find in Palermo. More info at the Cathedral's webpage

type:Churches
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address:Corso V. Emmanuele
openings:Mon - Sat 7am - 7pm, Sat and Sun closed between 1.30am and 4pm

Porta Nuova

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This massive gate was built in 1583 along the stright avenue of the Cassaro, in place of existing 15th-c. gate, to commemorate the entrance of Charles V into the city, upon his return in 1535 from his victory in Tunis. The lower section of the outer front was badly damaged and it was rebuilt in 1669.

type:Landmarks
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Capucin Catacombs

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Over 8000 dead bodies staring back at you, that's what this unexpected destination has to offer. From the beginning of the 16th century Capucin monks started mummifying bodies of the local gentry and put them in the cave under the monastery. All the dead still wear their daily life clothes, uniforms etc which makes the place even spookier than other catacombs.

Divided into different sections according to the rank the person held in life, one of the most curious being the section of girls who died as virgin, and who for this region go to heaven straight away. The 4 year old more..

type:Hotspots
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address:Via Cappuccini
tel:212117

Capella Palatina

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Private chapel of Roger II, great mosaics all over the place. A must see.

Entrance is on the second story of Palazzo dei Normanni. Capella Palatina is monument from Norman times, founded by Ruggero II in 1130.  Basilican in form, it features a nave and two aisles. The floor is mosaic; the walls have marble facing. The nave has a magnificent wooden caisson ceiling (c.1143) and "muqarnas" painted with Kufic figures and inscriptions; the small side aisles have pitch roofs with more..

type:Churches and Cathedrals
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address:Piazza Indipendenzia
openingHours:9-11 and 3-4:45; Sat., morn. only; Sun., 9-9:45 and 12-12:45

Sewers

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The Cooperativa Solidarietà in collaboration with the local section of Club Alpino Italiano organizes guided visits to qanat, or the underground channels of Palermo. It is a piping system for the draining and the transport of drinking water, a ingeneering technique introduced in Europe by the Arabs. You can visit the Qanat Gesuitico alto (Fondo Micciulla) and the Qanat Gesuitico basso (Vignicella). Both offer amazing paths though channels and tunnels.

type:Other sights
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address:Pindemonte street 88
openinghours:on appointment
tel:+39 (0)91 - 6520067

Museo Etnografico Pitre

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Situated on the edge of Palermo’s great park “La Favorita”, this museum exhibits the largest collection of Sicilian folklore and culture objects.

type:Museums
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openings:

La Martorana

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Slim campanile and many mosaics inside. Close to Quattro Canti.

type:Churches
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openings:Mon – Sat 9.30am – 1pm & 3.30 – 5.30pm

San Giovanni degli Eremiti

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Built in 1148 this church is the most obviously Arabic of the city’s Norman relics, with five ochre domes topping a small church that was built on the remains of an earlier mosque.

type:Churches
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openings:daily 9am – 1pm & 3 – 6.30pm, Sun only 9am – 12.30.

Museo Archeologico Regionale

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Great collection of local artefacts, mainly from the Greek and Roman times. Two cloisters hold anchors and other retrieved hardware from the sea off the Sicilian coast and there are rich stone carvings from the temple site of Selinunte.

type:Museums
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address:Via Roma
openings:daily 9am – 1.30pm, Tue & Fri also 3 – 6.30pm

Palazzo dei Normanni

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Built by the Saracens and enlarged by the Normans; a great mixture of styles and a must see. It is the Sicilian Parliament now so it is a bit hard to get a good impression. The best bit is the Capella Palatina, see churches section.

type:Palaces
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address:Piazza Indipendenzia

Galleria Regionale

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Stunning medieval art collection including frescoes and paintings.

type:Museums
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address:Via Alloro
openings:daily 9am – 1.30pm, Tue & Thu also 3 – 6.30pm

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