The historic centre of Palermo is a lot quieter than most of the areas. Although it is filled with tourists but there is a different vibe 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. Walking in the historic centre of Palermo is like walking back in the time of the Normans.
HISTORIC CENTRE OF PALERMO
What to do in Palermo’s Centro Storico:
Your first stop should be Il Duomo di Palermo (The Palermo Cathedral) which is a mind blowing work of art. The entrance is very unique too as it is surrounded by palm trees and historic shops. The Norman cathedral is striking and gorgeous!
Entrance ticket for visiting the Cathedral is €5. The Cathedral includes jewels from the era which are called the “treasures of the cathedral”. There is a crypt with tombs of the royal Normans which I personally found eerie but anyone can go and visit. To get a view of the city, you can climb to the top of a narrow tower for a view of the city. Cost is €5, however if you combine it with the Cathedral and tomb it is €7.
After admiring the stunning Cathedral, don’t forget to eat something from the shops outside.
Your next stop should be a visit to old bookstore and boutiques on the street outside the Cathedral. You can even purchase some great souvenirs for home!
After walking for about 15 minutes, you will reach the area called “Il Quattro Canti” – a junction where four (quattro) roads meet from four historic areas of the city. Quattro Canti is greatly admired by tourists and locals alike because it is simply gorgeous! It is adorned by sculptors and fountains that were commissioned by the Spanish Viceroy in 1611. It surely makes a great stop for photography and remains to my favorite part of the historic centre.
Your last stop before lunch/dinner should be the Kalsa district that has the jaw dropping Pretoria fountain! Keep half an hour here only for gazing here and thank me later 😉
Palermo’s historic centre also includes several churches. The city is historically rich with an intriguing history. I think Palermo requires more attention but unfortunately it gets sidelined by the popular cities of Italy.
- For a quick know how of the city you can take a Hop On Hop Off bus.
- Getting around in Palermo is manageable by foot if you get a good Map of the city.
- From India I traveled to Palermo with Swiss Airlines with a layover at Zurich airport. I found it to be the cheapest option as compared to other airlines.
- Check this handy Lonely Planet Guide for everything Sicilian you need to know. You won’t regret.
- Language is a barrier in Italy if you don’t know Italian especially with the older generation. But even in Sicily where so much of the dialect is spoken, I saw people are always willing to help.
- For information and bookings consider booking your trip to Sicily via VisitPalermo They are are the best guides for anything Sicilian. Not only are they super helpful, quick to revert and easy on your pocket, but also locals who call Palermo their hometown. I guarantee they will suggest you the best of Palermo and Sicily on the whole for your trip!
Further Reading on Palermo and Sicily:
Crime Fiction by Andrea Camilleri
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The Historical Ambience of L’Orangerie, Modica | ItalophiliaMarch 19, 2018 at 9:19 pm
[…] Walking in Palermo’s Centro Storico […]
tigerwandersAugust 31, 2016 at 2:38 pm
your photos makes me want to visit Palermo soon! 😉
IshitaSeptember 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm
grazie! I hope you can soon :/
IshitaSeptember 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm
peteAugust 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm
What a lovely blog Ishita! We thought Palermo was a magnificent city, especially having arrived on the overnight ferry from Naples. Unfortunately I did have my pocket picked!
IshitaAugust 18, 2016 at 9:43 pm
Sorry to hear that Pete. Was it near the station? Heard and read lot of cases sadly. It is wonderful. But you got to be careful everywhere now. Not just in Palermo
peteAugust 19, 2016 at 1:59 am
It was at the bus stop to go up to Monreale cathedral. There was an organised gang, an old man and half a dozen teenagers. They stole every passenger’s wallet or purse!
IshitaAugust 19, 2016 at 8:03 am
Oh my god! 🙁 This is so sad
IshitaAugust 18, 2016 at 9:43 pm
Manja Mexi MovieAugust 16, 2016 at 1:56 pm
Lovey! Sicily is still waiting and I think I’ll have to go there since it will not come to get me. 🙂
This made me grin, though: “Language is not a barrier in Italy as compared to other European countries. So many Italians know English and if they don’t, they will always find someone to help you when you are stuck.” I’m so happy for you to have this experience with the Italians you’ve met!! I wish I could say the same. Most of the Italians I meet in Roma and Tuscany are absolutely clueless, at least those who do not work in tourism. With a possible exception of France, in every other European country I’ve been people are happier to speak English and better at it.
IshitaAugust 16, 2016 at 2:25 pm
Yes you must 😉 Sadly it happens to me too but most of the people have been very helpful except for a few who give looks as if I am an alien 😛 I hope things improve.
TanjaAugust 11, 2016 at 9:33 pm
IshitaAugust 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm
i love it too 🙂 you must head to Sicily someday soon. .
CurlygirlabroadAugust 9, 2016 at 10:58 pm
Nice pictures! Makes me wanna go there 🙂
IshitaAugust 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm
Any plans to visit soon? Thank you 🙂
CurlygirlabroadAugust 10, 2016 at 6:25 pm
Perhaps 😛 I’m still doubting where to go next
IshitaAugust 11, 2016 at 5:16 pm
Then pick Palermo and plan ab itinerary around it.
Streets of NurembergAugust 8, 2016 at 10:58 pm
Great pictures! I’ve been to Palermo twice and you captured the atmosphere very well. Thanks for bringing back the memories!
IshitaAugust 8, 2016 at 11:48 pm
Thank you! Always enjoy your comments on my posts. Happy I could bring nice memories.
TravelsWithRaeAugust 8, 2016 at 7:04 pm
A beautiful post as always Ishita.. love the photos and travel hints along the way that you provide. Palermo was on my list when I was planning that very first trip last year.. but the logistics were too daunting to me at that time.. so I ‘settled’ for the mainland ha ha. But Sicily and Palermo are definitely on my ‘To Do’ list. I think I should just make my ‘To Do’ list, ALL OF ITALY as any town I look at or read about, I want to experience – LOL
IshitaAugust 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm
Lol! I’m in the same boat. Only today I saw a beautiful rail line in Tuscany online and was thinking when I could go. Same boat 😂😂 thank you for your lovely words. Make Palermo happen next time!!
LynAugust 8, 2016 at 5:15 am
Fantastic post. The Duomo is divine and your photos are beautiful
IshitaAugust 8, 2016 at 8:48 am
Grazie bella 🙂
Debra KolkkaAugust 8, 2016 at 3:13 am
We didn’t make it to Palermo, but it looks great…next time.
IshitaAugust 8, 2016 at 8:48 am
I remember you told me 🙂 we were in Sicily same time this year ..just different places.
snowtoseasAugust 8, 2016 at 12:44 am
Really great and informative post! The photos are also incredible. I agree with what you said – Palermo gets sidelined due to the presence of other tourist hotspots in Italy (I confess that I am a person that has done this to poor Palermo). However, thanks to your post, it’s now high up on my list of places to visit.
IshitaAugust 8, 2016 at 8:49 am
Thank you 🙂 it does and many people have pre conceived notions about it not being safe. It’s just as the next safest city in Euripe! Hope you visit soon
awtytravelsAugust 7, 2016 at 10:32 pm
Have you been to Monreale by any chance?
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 10:41 pm
That’s my next post 🙂
awtytravelsAugust 7, 2016 at 11:06 pm
Looking forward to that!
IshitaAugust 8, 2016 at 8:51 am
ravenhawks magazineAugust 7, 2016 at 10:11 pm
Reblogged this on ravenhawks' magazine and commented:
Beautiful area with stunning architecture, thanks for sharing.
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 10:21 pm
Thank you so much 🙂 also for the reblog!
ShereeAugust 7, 2016 at 9:47 pm
It’s many years since I’ve visited Sicily and your post and lovely photos has got me thinking it’s time to return.
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 9:56 pm
How lovely it must have been. where all did you go?
EvaAugust 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm
Great shots! I have never been in Sicily (yet) 😛
I find it very interesting that you have the perception that many Italians speak English 😀 So many of my friends are very reluctant and would rather bury themselves if faced with the situation of having to speak English with strangers.
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 9:41 pm
By that I mean that they know small words of English which shows they want to try and help. I have seen a difference in past 3 years of my travels there and I think things are slowly changing and they do want to take it up .. the youngsters.. Thank you for the lovely appreciation.. I hope you visit it soon!
EvaAugust 7, 2016 at 10:05 pm
Well one thing we’re great at is body language. The will to try to communicate is really strong even when faced with a language barrier haha But still, I’ve resided outside of Italy for some time now so I believe when you say things are changing.
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 10:22 pm
Haha absolutely 😉 Yes I think they are. I am glad they are. High time!
EvaAugust 7, 2016 at 10:40 pm
globalyatraAugust 7, 2016 at 7:51 pm
Beautiful pictures Ishita. We will add Palermo to our list of places to visit next time we are in Italy. Loved the commentary as well
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:52 pm
Thank you so much 🙂 Palermo will feel like a different Italy and you won’t regret.
marilynebAugust 7, 2016 at 7:15 pm
Beiatiful images Ishita!
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:17 pm
Thank you so much. Have you been there?
marilynebAugust 7, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Hi Ishita – no I haven’t although it’s on the list 😀. Sicily is an island I would love to have the time to explore fully.
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:29 pm
I am sure you will be there soon. Sicily is HUGE! A week was less. I need to go back soon 🙂
Travelling DaveAugust 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm
I have never been to Palermo (and Sicily) but looking at your pictures I think I will add it to my “to do” travel list! Thanks for sharing!
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm
Grazie Dave. Makes my day when you say that. Glad I helped increase your travels!
timewithlymeAugust 7, 2016 at 7:05 pm
Thank you for your beautiful pictures and informative post! Since visiting Prato several years ago, I am missing the city and longing to go back! These pictures are just stunning and reflect all that I loved about my trip back then! I am currently reading The Birth of Venus, a fictional book set in the 1500s in Florence, Italy…I think I am part Italian, even if my gene pool says otherwise….
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:07 pm
Mille grazie. That book is on my TBR since ages. I think we are kindred spirits then because I feel Italian in soul too 😉
I have yet to visit Prato 🙂 Heard its lovely too. What place in Italy isn’t!
timewithlymeAugust 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm
It’s a great story…I am only on Chapter 9, but I don’t want it to end…Prato is lovely, lovely, lovely. We stayed at the Hotel Prato, down the street from the church of Donatello’s Pulpit. I want to move back to Italy someday…or at least just visit every few years…
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:19 pm
I always want to visit every year. I think if I stay there, it might lose the charm. Checking online on Prato. grazie tanto.
timewithlymeAugust 7, 2016 at 7:33 pm
Alaina is the receptionist at the Hotel Prato…she’s wonderful. And Alain was the gentleman in the morning in the dining room…he reminded me of Al Pacino a bit…
IshitaAugust 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm
Hah thanks for the info 🙂 😉