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Things to see in Palermo

Attractions

Palazzo dei Normanni e Cappella Palatina (Norman Palace and Palatine Chapel)

The main attraction of this former royal residence (now the seat of the Regional Parliament) is the Palatine Chapel within. Designed by King Roger II in 1130, it is a jewel of Norman art with a splendid Arab honeycomb wooden ceiling and exquisite Byzantine mosaics in shades of gold and blue.

Address: , Piazza Indipendenza, 1, Palermo, 90129
Telephone: +39 91 626 2833.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0815-1740, Sun 0815-1300.

Website: http://www.fondazionefedericosecondo.it
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

La Cattedrale (The Cathedral)

Palermo's grand cathedral offers a striking mixture of architectural styles which reflect its history of invasion: Arab, Norman, Byzantine, Swabian, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque. Its ornate structure provides a glimpse of the city's medieval past. The Treasury houses a tiara belonging to Constance of Aragon.

Address: , Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo, 90040
Telephone: +39 91 334 373.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0700-1900, Sun 0800-1300 and 1600-1900.

Website: http://www.cattedrale.palermo.it
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Catacombe dei Cappuccini (Capuchin Catacombs)

These catacombs contain the bodies of some 8,000 ecclesiastics and distinguished citizens embalmed by Capuchin friars between the 17th and 20th centuries. The catacombs were created in the 16th century when space in the cemetery ran out for deceased monks. They decided to mummify one body - and the practise continued until the 1920s, encompassing not just men of faith but upper class people as well.

Address: , Via Cappuccini 1, Palermo, 90129
Telephone: +39 91 212 579.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1300 and 1500-1800.

Website: http://www.catacombepalermo.it
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

San Giovanni degli Eremiti (St John of the Hermits)

Built in 1132, St John of the Hermits is the most obviously Arabic of Palermo's Norman relics, with five ochre domes topping a little church built on the remains of an earlier mosque. The beautiful cloister and luxuriant garden make a peaceful haven in the Albergheria.

Address: , Via dei Benedettini, Palermo, 90134
Telephone: +39 91 651 5019.
Opening times:

Mon 0900-1300, Tue-Sun 0900-1830.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Orto Botanico (Botanical Gardens)

The lush Orto Botanico (Botanical Gardens) are a tranquil oasis that house an enormous variety of exotic plants from all over the world. This huge open-air museum covers more than 12 hectares (30 acres) and has important florae from Sicily and across the Mediterranean with plants that date back from the 18th century.

Address: , Via Abramo Lincoln 2/A, Palermo, 90133
Telephone: +39 91 2389 1236.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1900 (1800 in winter)

Website: http://www.ortobotanico.unipa.it
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Museo d’Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia (Museum of Contemporary Art)

Situated in Palazzo Belmonte Riso, a wonderfully restored 18th-century palace, the Museum of Contemporary Art showcases a collection of local works from the 1950s to the present day. As well as giving an incredible insight into Sicily's passionate and political artists, the museum hangs art from Italian and international creatives.

Address: , Corso Vittorio Emanuele 365, Palermo, 90100
Telephone: +39 91 587 717.
Opening times:

Tue-Wed 1000-2000, Thu-Sat 1000-2400, Sun 1000-2000.

Website: http://www.palazzoriso.it
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Museo Internazionale delle Marionette (International Puppet Museum)

This collection of puppets from Palermo, Catania and Naples is the widest and most complete in existence today. The museum holds over 3,000 exhibits, including Sicilian and foreign puppets and marionettes. All are handmade antiques, some dating back centuries. It also has puppets from Indonesia, India and the Far East.

Address: , Piazzetta Antonio Pasqualino, Palermo, 90133
Telephone: +39 91 328 060.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0930-1300 and 1430-1900.

Website: http://www.museodellemarionette.it
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Museo Etnografico Giuseppe Pitre (Ethnographic Museum Giuseppe Pitre)

Dedicated to Sicilian folklore and countryside life, this museum was established in 1909 by the ethnologist Giuseppe Pitré. Its vast, 5,000-strong collection includes reconstructions of farmhouse furniture, objects of ordinary life, many clothes and music instruments as well as torture instruments, puppets and traditional costumes.

Address: , Via Duca degli Abruzzi,1, Palermo, 90133
Telephone: +39 91 740 9012.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 0930-1800.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Mondello Beach

Around 20 minutes from Palermo by bus, the vibrant city beach resort of Mondello offers a crescent of clear waters and soft, white sand. This is where the Palermitani come to bronze and bathe. Visitors may have to pay for some sections of the beach, but expect beachside bars, volleyball and pastel-coloured changing cabins.

Address: , Viale Regina Elena, Palermo, 90149
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Gallery of Modern Art)

Housed in a former Franciscan convent, the Gallery of Modern Art is home to an important collection of Sicilian paintings and sculpture. Journey from the 18th century to mid-20th century, pausing in a special section dedicated to Sicilian hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Address: , Via Sant'Anna, 21, Palermo, 90133
Telephone: +39 91 843 1605.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 0930-1830.

Website: http://www.gampalermo.it
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

Palermo Tourism

Address: , Via Principe di Belmonte 92 , Palermo, 90139
Telephone: +39 91 585 172.
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 0830-1400 and 1430-1800.

Website: http://www.palermotourism.com

Palermo Centro tourist information office has information on tours and excursions, accommodation, car hire and events. Other outlets can be found at the airport (tel: +39 91 591 698) and at Stazione Centrale (tel: +39 91 616 5914).

Tourist passes

Available for one-, two- or three-days, the Palermo Tourist Card (tel: +39 91 626 8043; www.pmocard.it) gives reduced admission to more than 35 attractions alongside free use of public transport and with discounts on shopping, dining, entertainment and leisure.

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

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Grand Hotel Etes des Palmes

The sumptuous rooms of this historical, city centre hotel are decorated with antique furniture and fine fabrics. Founded in 1874, and renovated by one of the great masters of the art nouveau style, Ernesto Basile, in 1907, this has been the haunt of Italian socialites, writers, musicians and film stars for more than a century.

Hotel Garibaldi

In the heart of Palermo's shopping area, Hotel Garibaldi is a decent, moderately priced stay. Recently renovated, all rooms are now modern with funky fabrics and contemporary photographic prints bringing them to life. Wi-Fi, LCD TVs and tea and coffee making facilities are among the home comforts.

Centrale Palace Hotel

In the historic centre, near the Quattro Canti, this luxury hotel has 103 rooms and 11 suites, all tastefully decorated. Breakfast is served in a grand restaurant. There is a roof terrace for evening drinks and a grand red Sicilian marble staircase for those who like to make an entrance.

Hotel Principe di Villafranca

It may have just 34 rooms, but this stylish hotel makes up for size with an intimate restaurant and bar, and a cosy reading room with an intriguing collection of books. Located in the city centre, close to some top fashion boutiques, it is conveniently place for shopaholics. Expect a refined atmosphere and elegant furnishings.

Grand Hotel Wagner

The luxury Grand Hotel Wagner is full of old-world charm. Recently restored, this early-20th century building boasts antique furniture, chandeliers, rare marble, rich carpets and old paintings. Rooms are exquisitely decorated and there's a laid-back piano bar and a fourth-floor terrace with stunning city views.

Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

At Acquasanta, 3km (2 miles) north of the city, this 5-star hotel, restored by renowned 19th century architect Ernesto Basile at the end of the 19th century, is housed in a sumptuous art nouveau building. Seriously stylish accommodation, it offers original frescoes, decoration and furniture.