Le isole Egadi

Ancorate al largo della costa occidentale, le tre Egadi sono le isole siciliane più comode da visitare. Prima dell’avvento del turismo la prosperità delle isole era in gran parte basata sulle relazioni storiche con Genova, dato che l’arcipelago era situato lungo la rotta commerciale segue to the size and grandeur of the exterior, the cathedral soon became a symbol of the power struggle between church and crown that was going on at that time. Since then the building has undergone extensive modifications and additions with happy and less successful results. Despite its solemn dimensions, the interior of the cathedral is a sober space; in the chapels of the southern nave there are the tombs of the Norman kings, containing the remains of two great kings that Sicily has ever had: Roger II and Frederick II of Swabia. In the middle of the right aisle there is a very rich treasure where the crown of Constance of Aragon and a tooth of Santa Rosalia stand out and her ashes are kept in the same place in a silver reliquary.

Diocesan Museum : A Diocesan Museum has been set up next to the cathedral, home to an important and rich collection of works from the cathedral and from various churches destroyed during the Second World War.

Quattro Canti area, Albergheria

Once inhabited by Norman court officials, it is a poor and run-down neighborhood since the end of the Second World War, where there are buildings that still bear evident signs of the bombs dropped during the conflict. The area today is inhabited by an increasingly large community of immigrants who have revitalized the streets, in these streets there is the busiest market in Palermo, Ballarò.

Palaces of the Normans

Proceeding west along Corso Vittorio Emanuele you reach the massive complex of the Norman Palace, formerly the center of a magnificent medieval court and today the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. The hall of the regional council, present here, is the sumptuous Sala Ruggiero II, the bedroom of the Norman king, with walls covered with some of the few mosaics of the time with a non-religious theme, depicting Persian peacocks and exotic leopards.
On the lower floor you reach what is the most precious artistic treasure of Palermo, the Palatine Chapel designed by Ruggero II himself in 1130. The Palatine chapel is one of the most visited sites in Palermo, its mosaics are considered the greatest masterpieces of art world and together with the precious marbles that cover the internal walls make this place of meditation a true artistic jewel, the main theme is the stories of the Old Testament but other scenes recall the fundamental role that Palermo played during the Crusades. Not only the mosaics of the chapel are to be admired: the wooden ceiling with muqarnas decorations typical of Muslim architecture. Equally extraordinary is the marble floor considering that in the 12th century marble was as precious as gems, the value of this floor at the time it was made was truly inestimable.

New door

Next to the Norman Palace is the Porta Nuova built in 1583 at the behest of the Viceroy Colonna to celebrate the arrival of Charles V who returned victorious to Palermo after the defeat inflicted on the Muslims in Tunis. For centuries it was the most important land access to the city. More than 400 years after its construction, it still represents the dividing line between the historic center and the new city.

Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti

A little further south of the Norman Palace stands the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the most famous architectural testimony in Palermo of the fusion between the Arab and Norman styles. It is topped by five red domes and framed by a grand, tree-lined garden with kiosks that offer a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle.

Pretoria square

Immediately south of the intersection between Via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emauele opens Piazza Pretoria, a concentration of imposing churches and buildings that surround the imposing Fontana Pretoria. The fountain, arranged on several levels, dominates the square with its pools and concentric circles on which unveiled nymphs, tritons and river gods flock to jump out of the water. Designed by the Florentine sculptor Francesco Camillari between 1554 and 1555 for the Tuscan villa of Don Pedro di Toledo, it was purchased by the city of Palermo in 1573 with the specific intent of surpassing the Fountain of Orion which had recently been built in beauty and grandeur. in Messina. Located in front of the Palazzo Pretorio, the fountain aroused the scandalized reaction of the faithful who frequented the austere Church of San Giuseppe de Teatini, who renamed it "The Fountain of Shame"

The eastern side of the square is bordered by the Church of Santa Caterina, the most beautiful Baroque church in Palermo. Belonging to the Dominican order, the church was entrusted to the custody of the nuns of the convent, who kept it closed for 14 years; it was reopened to the public in 2006. The Dominican monastery adjacent to the church was founded around 1310. It is said that initially it gave refuge mainly to prostitutes, but the Palermo aristocrats did not take long to realize its privileged position and soon began to finance it. In the 16th century the monastery expanded to the point of incorporating a nearby church, when even this structure was insufficient it was necessary to build a new one. Thus it was that between 1566 and 1596 the Church of Santa Caterina was built, the work of an unknown architect, once you have seen the church you will understand why the nuns have wanted to jealously guard this explosion of Baroque for so many years.

La Martorana and the church of San Cataldo

The most famous and most beautiful medieval church in Palermo is La Martorana, a very popular setting for wedding rites. It was built in the 12th century by order of Giorgio di Antiochia, admiral of the fleet of Roger II, and like many structures of the time it was conceived to be a mosque. Delicate Fatimid columns support an internally decorated dome with a Christ enthroned surrounded by archangels, while Arabic inscriptions incessantly repeat the name of Allah. In 1433 La Martorana was sold to an order of Benedictine nuns and from there the modifications to the original structure of the building began. In 1935 Mussolini returned the church to the Greek Orthodox community, which still celebrates the rite of Mass according to its own tradition.

Between neoclassical and liberty ...

North of Piazza Giuseppe Verdi the streets of Palermo become wider, the buildings lengthen and shops, cafes and restaurants take on a more elegant aspect.

Massimo Theater

Built between 1875 and 1897 by Giovan Battista Basile and then by his son Ernesto to celebrate the unification of Italy, the Teatro Massimo has become the symbol of the triumphs and tragedies that have always characterized the events in Palermo. Third theater of the nineteenth century in size, it has had an emblematic history, symptomatic of the conflicts of power that have often torn apart the Palermo society, not surprisingly, at the Teatro Massimo the final scene of "The Godfather" was shot in which the culture is opposed to crime in a whirlwind of drama and death of extraordinary emotional impact.

Out of the center

Zisa Castle

One of the few monuments left in Palermo to testify to the period of Arab domination: muqarnas vaults, half-timbered windows, fountains and even a room specially designed to protect the emir and his family from the sirocco. Inside today a museum of Arab craftsmanship has been set up.

Catacombs of the Capuchins

It is known for the macabre spectacle offered by its catacombs, which contain the mummified bodies of about 8000 Palermitans who died between the 17th and 19th centuries. Originally intended only for monks, later they were also made available to Sicilians of high social spiders who guaranteed rich donations to the monastery. The dead were placed according to a rigid procedure that distinguished between social status, it. Religion and profession.


On the road that leads from the center of Palermo to Monreale stands the Cuba one of th