Any description of Palermo might sound quite incomplete considering it has one of the most beautiful historic centres in Italy and in the whole world.
The site is a joyful display of contrasts: the majestic architecture of its buildings, its theatres, its wonderful churches coexist with the most absurd neglect of entire quarters. Formerly the capital of several reigns, Palermo is interesting under many perspectives.
To book a professional guide may end up being a good investment if you wish to enjoy the city at best, avoiding the notorius chaos of the city's traffic congested areas.
There is no better way to explore Palermo than walking; all distant locations may else be easily reached by taxi. Three days in Palermo are a reasonable time to get an idea of the city; we suggest starting your walk from viale della Libertà until via Ruggero Settimo and via Maqueda. Don't miss the "Annunciata" in palazzo Abbatellis, a wonderful painting by Antonello da Messina. Check also „the legend of the four Saints“ (worshipped by the Palermitans).
Do visit at least one open-air market (for instance Vucciria or Ballarò) to feel Sicily's true character and traditional charm.
Not to miss:
PALAZZO DEI NORMANNI
Palazzo dei Normanni (or Palazzo Reale), seat of the Sicilian regional assembly - one of the most important historical and artistic city monuments, hosting the Cappella Palatina, with its mosaics and royal apartments
The church of S. Giovanni degli Eremiti, one of most important of the Norman period; S. Agostino; S. Domenico; S. Francesco d'Assisi; S. Maria della Catena; S. Maria degli Angeli also called "la Gancia"; della Magione; del Carmine; del Gesù; Martorana; S. Cataldo; S. Giuseppe dei Teatini
Palazzo Sclàfani (today seat of the military command), Palazzo Speciale, Palazzo Arcivescovile, Palazzo Termine Pietratagliata, Palazzo Chiaramonte, Palazzo Mirto, Palazzo Abatellis
Several construction layers attest Palermo's complex history; it also hosts the sepulchres of its emperors and kings
SQUARES, STREETS AND OTHER INTERESTING SPOTS
Oratorio del Rosario di S. Domenico, Oratorio di S. Cita, Oratorio di S. Lorenzo, Collegio Massimo dei Gesuiti. Piazza della Vittoria; Piazza Bologni; Piazza Marina; Piazza Pretoria; Quattro Canti; Corso Vittorio Emanuele; Via Maqueda
Very close to one another, two most beautiful theatres: Teatro Massimo, an awesome and monumental architecture and Teatro Politeama, neoclassical in style
Try the local cuisine: the pasta with sardines, the „caponata di melanzane“ (a baked vegetable dish) or the vey sweet patisserie (the „cannoli di ricotta“, the cassata siciliana). Do not miss Palermo’s street food: "pane e panelle" and "pane ca' meusa"
At 13 km from Palermo you can visit the suburb of Mondello with its beautiful clear seaside, its art decò buildings and its many little pretty and good restaurants
Finally, a few km in direction South, the cathedral of Monreale is an absolute must with its marvellous walls full of glass mosaics