Busy day in Palermo Cathedral, tuk-tuks, carriages, Sicily

What to visit in Palermo for one day

Palermo is a beautiful city in middle of the Mediterranean and the largest city in Sicily. Despite being an italian city, it is very different from what the rest of Italy has to offer: their light, but slightly orange buildings (due the material they were constructed with) and the abundance of palm trees in certain historic places, make Palermo an unique mixture between its mediterranean and italian roots.

If you want to discovery a little bit more about this city, but have no idea where to start, then scroll bellow to see its main highlights.

 

Façade of Teatro Massimo in Palermo

Teatro Massimo in Palermo seen from the side

Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele

Start your day in Palermo with a visit to this amazing opera house. Dedicated to the king Vittorio Emanuele II, it’s one of the biggest opera houses in all Europe and it was the set for the final scenes of The Godfather  Part III. While you’re in town, make sure you assist to a show here and understand for yourself why the opera is renowned for its acoustics.

 

Via Maqueada, Palermo

Via Maqueada

Located on the historic centre of Palermo, this streets connects the Massimo’s Theatre to another emblematic place of the city: Piazza Vigliena, also known as Quattro Canti. While you are there, make sure to buy a few souvenirs since this street offers a great variety of products: from mugs to t-shirts, you can find almost any souvenir type. My tip is to buy Limoncello- Italy’s most famous liquor and a typical product of both the south of Italy and Sicily.

 

I Quattro Canti, Piazza Vigliena

Detail of a statue in I Quattro Canti, Piazza Vigliena

I Quattro Canti

Officially known as Piazza Vigliena, this baroque style square was one of my favorite spots in Palermo. It may be “just” a square, but there’s definitely something special about it. The majestic and near-identical four buildings that give the name to this place, and its incredible architecture, almost makes you forget that you are in middle of the crossing between the two main streets of Palermo (Via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emanuele). Besides, what makes this square so unique is the symbolism behind each facade: each of the four fountains have statues that represent the four seasons, the four Spanish Kings of Sicily and the patronesses of Palermo.

 

Fontana Pretoria at Piazza della Vergogna in Palermo, Sicily

Fontana Pretoria

Just a few meters away of Piazza Vigliena there’s Piazza Pretoria. The square is also known as Piazza della Vergogna or, in English, the square of Shame, due to the nudity that the statues in the fountain display.

 

 

Martorana, Palermo, Sicily

Martorana seen from below, Palermo, Sicily

Martorana

Considered by many as Palermo’s most beautiful church, Martorana is definitely a unique place. Despite looking very simple on the outside and almost going unnoticed, is its interior that make Martorana absolutely stunning and totally different from what you would expect. If you get the chance, try frutta di Martorana, a sweet formerly moulded by the nuns of this church and one of Palermo’s most distinctive foodstuffs.

 

 

Entrance of Cappella Palatina

Palazzo dei Normanni seen from below, Palermo, Sicily

Capella Palatina and Palazzo dei Normanni

If you love art and history, don’t forget to include this stunning chapel and palace in your visit to Palermo. In many aspects similar to Martorana, specially in the size and the use of the golden to decorate it’s walls, Capella Palatina is the place to go if you want to see a rich architecture.

 

Detail of the Palermo Cathedral's dome

Busy day in Palermo Cathedral, tuk-tuks, carriages, Sicily

Cattedrale di Palermo

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, the majestic Palermo Cathedral. Completed in the 18th century , it is mainly characterized by the presence of different styles, due to a long history of additions and alterations, similar to what happened to many monuments in Palermo.

 

After seeing all of these places, if you still have time, you can always include a visit to the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, one of the world’s most famous catacombs, and to Monreale’s church.

Have you ever been to Palermo? Do you have any suggestions to complete this list? Leave your comments down below!

 

 

 

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