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Things to do in  Palermo

Welcome to Palermo

Palermo is Sicily’s melting pot, an intoxicating blend of cultures clashing, conforming, and ultimately coming together over the millennia to form a city that seems worlds way from mainland Italy. Its spectacular mix of Norman, Moorish, and baroque architecture sits cheek-to-jowl with bazaar-like street markets teeming with Palermitani who speak the Arabic-influenced local dialect and hawk dishes rooted in northern Africa. Knock-out Byzantine mosaics in the Royal Palace and Cathedral are the city’s pride and joy, but visitors also come to experience the vibrant food scene and colorful nightlife.

Top attractions in Palermo for Spring

#1
Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo)

Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo)

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Over the centuries, Sicily was ruled by successive waves of conquerors, each one leaving their mark on the island’s architecture, culture, and cuisine. A perfect example of this blend of cultures is the Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo), a fascinating patchwork of Norman, Arabic, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architectural styles.More
#2
Massimo Opera House (Teatro Massimo)

Massimo Opera House (Teatro Massimo)

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The largest opera house in Italy, Palermo’s handsome 19th-century Massimo Opera House (Teatro Massimo is one of the city’s crown jewels. From its elegant neoclassical exterior honoring Sicily’s ancient temples to the lavish gold-and-velvet interiors with impeccable acoustics, this landmark theater dazzles with more than just music.More
#3
Vucciria Market (La Vucciria)

Vucciria Market (La Vucciria)

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While Palermo has a number of bustling outdoor markets worth exploring for the lively atmosphere, the most famous is Vucciria Market, known locally as La Vucciria. Located in the historic center around Piazza San Domenico, the stalls predominantly sell fish, meat, and produce—but you can find a little of everything here.More
#4
Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò)

Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò)

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If you are looking to immerse yourself in the local culture of Palermo, the Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò) is the place to go. As the city’s oldest street market and one of the most vibrant markets in Europe, Ballarò also provides a glimpse into Palermo’s past as a major commercial center and port.More
#5
Piazza & Fontana Pretoria

Piazza & Fontana Pretoria

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The spectacular Fontana Pretoria is the centerpiece of Palermo’s large Piazza Pretoria. Created by the Florentine sculptor Francesco Camilliani for a private Tuscan villa, the fountain was acquired by Palermo in 1574. Its nude statues scandalized locals at the time, but today the fountain is one of the city’s most treasured landmarks.More
#6
Four Corners (Quattro Canti)

Four Corners (Quattro Canti)

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Don’t be put off by the heavy traffic in Palermo’s busy Quattro Canti. This square that doubles as a major intersection is a popular stop for architecture enthusiasts, drawn to the four largely identical 17th-century buildings that sit at its four corners, considered among the finest examples of baroque architecture in Palermo.More
#7
Capo Market (Mercato di Capo)

Capo Market (Mercato di Capo)

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Take a deep and delicious dive into Palermo’s culture and cuisine with a visit to Capo Market (Mercato di Capo), thick with stalls selling a wide variety of local produce, fresh fish, and other specialties.The atmosphere of this bustling market is testimony to the strong Arab influence in the port city, one of the hallmarks of its unique history.More
#8
Monreale Cathedral (Duomo di Monreale)

Monreale Cathedral (Duomo di Monreale)

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The mosaic-filled Monreale Cathedral (Duomo di Monreale) is both one of Italy’s most impressive masterpieces of medieval architecture and one of Sicily’s finest examples of Norman design. The triumph of Norman, Arab, Byzantine and classical elements was built by William II in 1184, and continues to dazzle visitors almost 1,000 years later.More
#9
Palatine Chapel (Capella Palatina)

Palatine Chapel (Capella Palatina)

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The Palatine Chapel inside Palermo’s Royal Palace—once the private chapel of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily—is one of the most breathtaking and important attractions in the city. The chapel seems to glow in a golden light, reflected by the ornate mosaics that cover its interior and are considered among the best in Italy.More
#10
Politeama Garibaldi Theater (Teatro Politeama Garibaldi)

Politeama Garibaldi Theater (Teatro Politeama Garibaldi)

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The imposing Politeama Garibaldi Theater (Teatro Politeama Garibaldi overlooking Palermo’s Piazza Ruggero Settimo turns heads with its triumphal arch entrance and circular design ringed with two levels of columns. Home to the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, this 19th-century concert hall stages classical music performances year-round.More
#11
Capuchin Catacombs (Catacombe dei Cappuccini)

Capuchin Catacombs (Catacombe dei Cappuccini)

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One of the most famous sights in Palermo—albeit a rather macabre one—is the extensive network of catacombs under the city’s historic Capuchin Monastery. The subterranean Capuchin Catacombs (Catacombe dei Cappuccini) are home to thousands of mummified remains in varying states of preservation dating from the 16th to 20th centuries.More
#12
Martorana

Martorana

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Palermo’s splendid La Martorana is an architectural time capsule, with elements of three successive historic styles—Norman, Romanesque, and baroque—on its facade, and untouched Byzantine glory within. One of a group of extraordinary UNESCO-listed churches in Palermo, La Martorana dazzles with its 12th-century mosaics.More
#13
Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù)

Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù)

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Often called the Casa Professa, the Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù) is one of the most important Baroque churches in Sicily with a deeply intricate and ornate interior. Highlights include colorful frescoes, intricate stone carvings, and 18th-century marble reliefs depicting the Adoration of the Magi, all hidden away behind an unassuming facade.More
#14
Zisa Castle (Castello della Zisa)

Zisa Castle (Castello della Zisa)

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This UNESCO-listed palace is one of Palermo’s many fine examples of Norman architecture dating from the 12th-century Moorish reign over Sicily. Though the interior has long been stripped of its original decoration, architecture buffs will enjoy seeing the unique Arab influence on the style of this former royal hunting retreat.More
#15
Opera Dei Pupi (Rod Marionette Theatre)

Opera Dei Pupi (Rod Marionette Theatre)

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For a unique window into Palermo’s cultural traditions, catch a performance of the historic Sicilian Puppet Theatre (Opera Dei Pupi, a theater so singular that it is recognized by UNESCO for Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage. At the International Marionette Museum (Museo Internazionale delle Marionette you can see finely-made, historic puppets and enjoy a show.More

Top activities in Palermo

Palermo Street Food Walking Tour
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 Agrigento; Valley of the Temples, Scala dei Turchi from Palermo, Private Tour
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Night Street Food Tour of Palermo
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City Escape: Marsala Private Day Trip from Palermo
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