Palermo city guide for first time travellers

January 24, 2017

Your first time in Palermo?! Read our top things to do and enjoy every sicilian monent.

Admire Teatro Massimo the Godfather’s way

Teatro Massimo

Teatro Massimo

A must visit building and gem of Palermo is Teatro Massimo. The architecture has neoclassical elements and is impressive from inside and outside. If you wish to take a sneak pic from inside you have to book a guided tour. There is even a cocktail tour! Otherwise you can enjoy an opera or a concert if you have the chance. Teatro Massimo is also a great meeting point for the locals. Extra info: The last scene from Godfather III was taken here at the entrance of Teatro Massimo!

Come closer to nature at the Botanical Gardens of Palermo

L'Orto botanico di Palermo

L’Orto botanico di Palermo

The “L’Orto botanico di Palermo” are not just botanical gardens but also an educational institution. Walk around and admire plants and trees from all over the world. Interesting spots are the “Aquarium”, a large round pool which is home to a variety of aquatic flora and the greenhouses. Entrance fee is 5 euros.

Learn history at the Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral

This Cathedral comes with a heavy history. Despite the fact that it’s been rebuilt many times you can tell that there are many stories written on these walls. The architecture reflects the many civilizations that came through Sicily, like Arbas and Normans. If you want to take a tour up to the roof get ready for some great views of the city!

 Feel like a royalty at the Palazzo dei Normanni

The Royal Palace of Palermo is hosting the Sicilian Regional Parliament, but this was not always the case. It used to be the home of kings who lived the royal way from the 9th century. The most well know element of this complex is the grand Cappella Palatina next door as well as the Byzantine mosaics.

Walk (or jump) at the marina

Marina of Palermo

Marina of Palermo

If you get there early you will meet people jogging and fisherman selling fresh goodies. You can either take a walk and admire the boats, or just enjoy an espresso at the cafes around.

Try local Sicilian delights

Cannoli

Cannoli

Main reason for visitng Sicily is the food. The architecture and the little streets are nice but the food is great. From local sweets like cannoli and cassata to pasta norma and super fresh seafood Palermo is the place to eat. Did we made that clear enough?!

Meet the dead at Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo

Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo

Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo

Are you ready for a spooky but really interesting place?  These Catacombs actually reveal customs and traditions of the Palermo society from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. The history starts from 1783 where 45 bodies found intact in the Capuchin convent. Mummification became a popular process, a way to preserve status and dignity after death. The cemetery closed in 1880 but “accepted” two more “guests” until 1920. Entrance fee is just 3 euros.

Visit La Martorana

La Martorana

La Martorana

One of the most famous churches of Palermo is La Martorana. This church is also a mix of styles and has been trough many transformations. Nowadays it is protected. Interesting fact is that the famous frutta di Martorana (marzipan sweets), were made at this church by nuns!

Get impressed at Duomo de Monreale

One more impressive church that reveals the history of Palermo. If you want to admire some really good glass mosaics here is the place to be. Quite famous Duomo among the tourists! Extra info: This church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Keep in mind that is at the region Monreale and not at the city center. So you will need a transportation.

 Extra tips

  • Keep in mind that around 3-6 pm most of the restaurants and sights are closed, because is rest time. So before you visit a place to eat, or a church check the opening hours.
  • Most of the citizens of Palermo don’t speak English but don’t worry you will find a way to communicate.
  • It really worths to visit small towns near Palermo like Cefalu. Use the train, is easy, affordable and offers great views.
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