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  • PALERMO, ITALY CITY GUIDE

GETTING AROUND PALERMO

Palermo is easily accessible on foot. From the center of town, most sites are within a 30-minute walk. For anything on the outskirts of the city, there is a good bus system, and taxis are available as well. Check with your hotel concierge about the best way to reach any point of interest.

THINGS TO DO IN PALERMO

Map showing points of interest in Palermo1. REGIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY MUSEUM

Housed in a Renaissance monastery, the museum is home to incredible Greek and Roman artifacts, including temple friezes from Selinunte, which we visit on Day 4.

2. TEATRO MASSIMO

The largest opera House in Italy (third largest in Europe) and renowned for its perfect acoustics, Teatro Massimo is also famous for the final scene in the third Godfather movie. Enjoy an opera or take a guided backstage tour.

3. MUSEO DELL’INQUISIZIONE

Explore the legacy of the Inquisition in Sicily in this museum of restored prison cells. Visit on a guided tour only and learn about the cell artwork from 1601-1782.

4. PALERMO CATHEDRAL

A huge complex in the center of Palermo with a blend of architectural styles including Norman, Moorish, Gothic, and Baroque. You can’t miss it.

5. PALAZZO DEI NORMANNI & PALATINA CHAPEL

Currently home to Sicily’s parliament, this former Norman palace is the oldest royal residence in Europe. Tour the royal apartments and magnificent chapel.

6. CATACOMBS

A macabre, yet fascinating site, the catacombs are home to around 8000 corpses and over 1200 mummies that line the walls categorized by professions, genders, and age. The oldest dates to 1599.

7. MONREALE CATHEDRAL

A 30-minute bus ride out of the city, the Norman cathedral of Monreale dates to 1182 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Go for the breathtaking mosaics, intricate carvings, opulent artifacts in the treasury, and the sweeping views over Palermo.

8. MONDELLO BEACH & CAPO GALLO

Relax on this pristine beach and swim in the turquoise water right alongside local Sicilians. It will be crowded on weekends. A walk along the coast will bring you to Capo Gallo Nature Reserve with lovely walking trails and fewer people.

SHOPPING

9. FOOD MARKETS

The food markets of Vucciria, Ballaro, and Capo are the perfect places to sample local life and people watch. You’ll find fresh produce, fish, pastries, and more. Wander through the stalls yourself or opt for a street food tour and tasting with a local guide. Check out Streaty (streaty.com).

10. MERCATO ANTIQUARIATO

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, Piazza Marina is transformed into a gigantic flea market. Go early for the best finds, but even if you’re not looking to buy, browsing is certainly entertaining! You’ll find everything—furniture, antiques, knickknacks, coins, books, and more.

EATING

You’ll find essential Italian ingredients often influenced by Middle Eastern or African flavors. Don’t forget to eat a cannoli (or three) in the city that created them!

11. BISSO BISTROT

A popular, casual place with excellent food and an old-world atmosphere.

12. ENOTECA BUONIVINI

A simple tasting room with walls full of wine and a large “by the glass” selection. Good place for wine enthusiasts and a light meal.

13. GAGINI SOCIAL RESTAURANT

For a refined gastronomic experience, the creative and modern menu juxtaposes the rustic atmosphere. The restaurant works closely with Slow Food Sicily producers. Make reservations.

14. FRIDA

Regarded as one of the best pizzerias in Palermo, you’ll find traditional pizzas with a twist made with fresh ingredients. More than pizza, it’s an experience.

15. PASTICCERIA FRATELLI MAGRI

The same family has owned this pastry shop for three generations, and it’s well-known for the artistic, made-from-scratch desserts. Get your cannoli here.

For a hotel recommendation, please see the Pre- & Post-Tour section of your Trip Planner.

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