Palermo has always been a multi-ethnic city. Over the centuries it has been populated by Phoenicians, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Jews, Swabians, Angevins, Spanish: people and cultures that have turned this land into a place of magnificence mixed often with urban decay, in wich port has perennially played a determinant role. There are  few urban centres that possess a natural port which is an integral part of its own urban fabric, with ancient buildings of historical relevance such as the Castello a Mare. It is situated between the industriale port and the Cala marina and it was buil in Muslim times. Close the port there are The Cala, the city historical port, now a nice place for a promenade, and the The Foro Italico, a symbolic landmark of the city, now called "Sea of green": the blue expanse of the sea combined with the green of the Foro Italico constitute an extraordinary frame for the ancient Kalsa Arab settlement.

Tourist attractions, venues and activities:

The Norman-Arabian itinerary includes the Castello a Mare, the Cathedral, the Royal Palace with the Palatine Chapel, the Church of St. Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Church of Martorana, the Church of Magione, the Zisa, the Cuba etc.

The Baroque itinerary: Casa Professa and all oratories decorated by Giacomo Serpotta

The Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau itinerary: The Villa Giulia Garden, The Botanic Garden, The Chinese Palace and the Teatro Massimo, the biggest Theatre in Italy and one of the largest of Europe.

Palermo markets: Vucciria, Capo, Ballarò and Borgo Vecchio are the most characteristic places of Palermo, very rooted in the past

Not to forget... There are many bars, pastry shops, fast food, small restaurants along the main  old street where you can drink excellent espresso or cappuccino, taste the delicious italian ice cream, or eat even sandwiches, pizza, some typical sicilian dishes or some street food as boiled octopus, "stigghiole" (guts of kidskin, barbecued lamb or calf), sfincione (a kind of pizza), or panelle (fried chickpeas puree) and crocchè (potatoes croquette with parsley, fried by the mythic figure of "panellaro" (the seller of panelle).

Shore excursions

Short excursions by bus

  • Palermo and Monreale (half day)
  • Cefalù (half day)
  • Segesta and Selinunte (full day)
  • Taormina and Monte Etna Volcano (full day)
  • Agrigento and Valley of the Greek Temples (full day)
 
Tourist Information
Local Population 657.561
Time (GMT+/-): +1
First language:
Italian
Second language: English
Currency:
Euro
Banking hours (morning): From 08:30 to 13:30
Banking hours (afternoon): From 14:40 to 16:10
Credit cards: AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA, MASTERCARD, DINERS CLUB
Accepts Travellers Cheques: Yes
Shopping hours (morning): 09:00-13:00
Shopping hours (afternoon): 16:00-19:30
Public holidays: January 1 New Year’s Day, January 6 Epiphany, March-April Easter Monday (movable feast) April 25 Liberation Day, May 1 Labour Day, June 2 Anniversary of the Republic, August 15 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Ferragosto), November 1 All Saints’ Day, December 8 Immaculate Conception, December 25 Christmas Day, December 26 St Stephen’s Day, July 15 - Saint Rosalia /Palermo Patron Day
Shops are open on Saturdays: Yes
Shops are open on Sundays: No
 
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