The Centro Storico (historic centre) of Palermo is a lot quieter than most of the areas. Although it is filled with tourists like myself but there is a certain demeanor different from the rest of the city. It is a lot similar to the Rashtrapati Bhavan area in Delhi- quiet, clean and green while the rest stands abuzz with activity.
My first stop in the centro storico was Il Duomo di Palermo (The Palermo Cathedral). Surrounded by palm trees, the Norman cathedral is very striking and gorgeous! It’s entrance includes a famous portico that was made in the 16th century. Inside there are several jewels which are called the “treasures of the cathedral”. I did not spend a lot of time inside as there was a crypt with the tombs of the royal Normans and I personally find it a too eerie.
If you want to get a view of the city, a narrow tower in the Duomo leads you to the top and is worth EUR 5.
After a visit to the beautiful Duomo, a long street takes you through local shops of the city. There is everything from street food to Sicilian cuisine, cafes and small bookstores and endless line of souvenir shops. After a long walk you reach the historic area called the Quattro Canti – a junction where four (quattro) roads lead to four historic areas of the city.
Quattro Canti is full of sculptors and fountains which were commissioned by the Spanish Viceroy in 1611. It is a stop for photography and remains to my favorite part of the historic centre!!
Next to the Quattro Canti is the Kalsa district with its stunning Pretoria fountain. Keep half an hour here only for gazing 😉 You will be stupefied with the art.
Palermo’s historic centre also includes several churches and two of them I visited but sorry no pictures. The city is rich and full of history but sadly gets sidelined due to the popular cities in Italy.
-for a quick know how of the city take the Hop On Hop Off bus.
-Getting around in Palermo is manageable by foot if you get a good Map of the city 🙂
–Swiss Airways caters travel to Palermo from India with a layover at Zurich airport. I found it to be the cheapest compared to other airlines flying from India.
–Language is not a barrier in Italy because even if they don’t speak English they will try. Few actually know English but there will be someone to help you when you are stuck.
-For any information and bookings on Sicily contact VisitPalermo & VisitSicily. They are super helpful, quick to revert and easy on your pocket. I guarantee you they will suggest you the best of Palermo and Sicily for your trip 🙂