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:
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