Palermo Architecture

Our most recommended Palermo Architecture

Palermo: Street Food and History Walking Tour

1. Palermo: Street Food and History Walking Tour

Embark on a walking tour through the center of Palermo and feel like you are visiting an open-air museum. Marvel at a range of different architectural styles and see the Capo street markets that are a true mix of culture, customs, and food traditions. Taste five local food specialties and a drink to wash them down tastefully. Blend a historical and foodie walking tour into one. See and learn about historical landmarks, including Piazza Beati Paoli, the Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, and the Pretoria fountain en route. Walk through the bustling Capo Street Market, offering a wide selection of local meats, seafood, produce & Sicilian bites. Then, taste some local specialties from Palermo. Tuck into some sfincione (dough topped with onion, bread crumbs, tomato, and oregano), panelle (fried chickpea flour), crocché (potato croquettes), arancine (rice croquettes stuffed with meat or butter), and cannolo (crunchy shell with sweet-cheese). Refresh yourself with a drink, to close off your tour in style.

From Palermo: Monreale and Cefalù Half-Day Trip

2. From Palermo: Monreale and Cefalù Half-Day Trip

Escape the hustle and bustle of Palermo city center on a half-day tour to Monreale and Cefalù. Marvel at a Norman cathedral on the slopes of Monte Caputo, and learn the Greek and Medieval history of one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns. Following a pick-up from your hotel or the port of Palermo, transfer to Monreale where you will have approximately 1-hour to tour the Duomo. An official audio guide is included to learn the history of the 12th-century building, considered one of the greatest landmarks of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the south of Italy. Then, drive along the north coast of Sicily, on route to the beautiful town of Cefalù. Sit back and relax on the 1.5-hour journey, and on arrival go to the 12th-century Duomo. See traces of the Middle Ages at the Osterio Magno. Get panoramic views from the Porta Terra. Discover Greek and Arabic pottery in the Mandralisca Museum, and walk down some curving stone steps to a picturesque cluster of 16th-century wash basins at the Lavatoio.

From Palermo: Villa Romana and Valley of the Temples Trip

3. From Palermo: Villa Romana and Valley of the Temples Trip

Follow in the footsteps of the Greeks and Romans on a day trip where your transport is taken care of for you. Discover some of the finest Roman mosaics in the world at the Villa Romana del Casale. Learn all about the Valley of the Temples archaeological site with a licensed local guide. Meet your driver in central Palermo and be taken straight to Piazza Armerina, where you will explore the Villa Romana del Casale independently. Marvel at the luxurious 4th-century villa, home to an influential Roman family. Take your time to examine its exquisite mosaic flooring. Continue to Agrigento for a guided tour of the magnificent Valley of Temples, built by the Greeks in the 5th century BC. See the ruins of temples, necropolises, houses, streets, and everything else you'd expect to find in an ancient city. Finally, return to the meeting point in Palermo.

Palermo: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples Day Tour

4. Palermo: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples Day Tour

Enjoy a scenic drive into the countryside to Agrigento on this full-day excursion from Palmero, with stops to see ancient temples. Visit local museums and learn about the country's rich history before being transferred back to Palermo. The excursion includes a short stop for a coffee en route to Agrigento, before arriving at the Valley of the Temples. You can further explore the Hera, Concordia and Apollo temples and Hardcastle villa, with a guidebook that will provide more information about the sites. You’ll have free time to decide on a place for lunch, before your driver takes you to the Agrigento Archaeology Museum. After exploring the museum’s collections, you'll be driven back to Palermo.

Palermo: Markets and Monuments City Center Walking Tour

5. Palermo: Markets and Monuments City Center Walking Tour

Get a feel for the rich history, culture, and architecture of central Palermo on a 3-hour guided walking tour. Your guide will take you to Norman Sicily churches and beautiful palaces, through bustling city squares and famous old street markets. Head first to the Teatro Massimo and learn about Italy’s largest opera house, known for its perfect acoustics. Then visit the beautiful Palermo Cathedral, dating from the 12th century and part of Unesco ’s list of World Heritage sites. See the Church of the Gesù, one of the most important Baroque churches in Palermo, as well as the Praetorian Palace, an outstanding palace of the 15th century.   Continue to Pretoria Square, referred to by locals as the “square of shame” for the nudity of its fountain statues. You’ll also visit the nearby Bellini Square where you’ll see the Church of San Cataldo and Martorana Church, two more Norman Sicily–era churches and Unesco World Heritage sites.   Along the way, your guide will lead you through the famous Capo street markets. Observe the lively scenes and multitude of smells, textiles, and colorful foods as you weave among the stalls. You can also buy and taste some of the city’s popular street food, including: panelle, crocché, sfincione and arancina The tour ends in the exact center of historic Palermo, the Baroque Villena Square, also known as Quattro Canti (Four Corners). It was built in the early 1600s at the crossing of the two most prominent streets in Palermo: Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda.

Capuchin Catacombs and Monreale Cathedral Private Tour

6. Capuchin Catacombs and Monreale Cathedral Private Tour

Explore the ghoulish remains of friars and luminaries at Palermo’s Capuchin Catacombs on a 3-hour sightseeing tour. Wander along dank corridors through a vast human library of mummified bodies. Inaugurated in 1599, when Capuchin monks discovered that their catacombs contained a mysterious preservative that could mummify the dead, the goal of the site is to reflect on the fragility of life and consider the pettiness of worldly goods. Some 8,000 bodies of men and women were ultimately buried in the catacombs, including the mummy of friar Silvestro of Gubbio, the first body to be buried in the catacombs. The corpses are divided into categories, such as friars, virgins, and professors, and often recognizable by their decaying clothing. As you walk through the corridors, you will see ghastly bodies that include the mummified corpse of the painter Velazquez. Emerge from the gruesome catacombs and travel to Monreale, 6 miles (10 kilometers) from Palermo. Here you will swap corpses for gold and marble as you visit the 12th-century Arab-Norman Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the world. End your tour at the Benedictine Cloister, completed at the turn of the 13th century. Wander around the beautiful garden, surrounded by delicate arches and white marble columns.

Palermo: Art and Architecture Walking Tour

7. Palermo: Art and Architecture Walking Tour

Discover the historical monuments of Palermo on a small group half-day tour, and learn the fascinating history of the city, from its birth under the Phoenicians through the Roman Republic and the Byzantine Empire to the modern day. Wander the winding streets of the Politeama sestiere (district) to see iconic buildings such as the Teatro Politeama and Teatro Massimo, one of the largest opera houses in Europe. Learn about the Arab-Norman era and religious rites at sites such as the 12th-century Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) in the Palazzo Reale. Look in wonder at the splendid façade of Palermo Cathedral, characterized by different architectural styles, from the Gothic through the early Renaissance and Baroque. Learn more about the hidden treasures of the historical center and hear amazing stories that take you on a journey through time.

Palermo: Historical Center Walking Tour with Rooftop Views

8. Palermo: Historical Center Walking Tour with Rooftop Views

Discover Palermo from above on a guided walking tour. Take in the city's top attractions, including picturesque piazzas, grand churches, and Palermo Cathedral. Explore the rooftops to see the city from up high. Learn about Palermo's history and the Sicilian tradition of baking in convents. Meet your guide at the entrance to Piazza San Domenico, before heading along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, where you can admire many architectural gems, including the impressive Palermo Cathedral with its mix of styles. Then, head to Piazza Bellini and the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Marvel at its Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo features. Discover this former convent's baking roots in the Dolceria, a project aimed at rediscovering the ancient Sicilian tradition of baking in convents. Next, get a whole new perspective on Palermo by climbing up to the roof of the convent of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, where you can admire breathtaking city views. Take in the beauty of the dome of the Baroque Chiesa del Santissimo Salvatore church and the Cathedral from up high. Finally, visit the enchanting Piazza Pretoria, also known as the square of shame, in the middle of the historical center of Palermo. Admire its majestic marble fountain featuring sixteen nude statues of nymphs, humans, mermaids, and satyrs. Then, finish your tour back at the meeting point.

Palermo: The Baroque and Aristocracy Walking Tour w/ Tasting

9. Palermo: The Baroque and Aristocracy Walking Tour w/ Tasting

Meet us at h 2.30PM at the i Quattro Canti, the famous Pretoria (A.k.a Shame) fountain will be a scenario of popular stories. In Piazza Bellini you will admire the domes of San Cataldo from the 12th century of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, of the Martorana and of Santa Caterina and you will travel the alleys of the Corporations of the artisans and of the Judges who accompanied the Inquiries to the Death. You will be introduced to the stories of Gattopardo walking along the street and having the opportunity to see (from outside) the Gangi palace, location of the famous film by Visconti, to reach the square decorated by the splendid Gothic rose window of the church of San Francesco D’Assisi. From there you will discover the richest and darkest centuries of Hispanic Sicily with a visit to the oratory of San Lorenzo, decorated by the stuccos of the Serpotta and admire the ancient furnishings, stables and treasures in the Historical House of the Mirto Palace. In the shadow of the centuries-old ficus magnolioides of the sea square, a Surprise Visit in the footsteps of the “Santa Inquisition” will end your walk through traditional ice-creams and cannoli in the district of the old port of the Cala.

Palermo: Bus Tour to Noto, Ortigia, and Siracusa

10. Palermo: Bus Tour to Noto, Ortigia, and Siracusa

Explore the beauty of Sicily on this bus tour from Palermo. Be picked up from your accommodation and enjoy air-conditioned transfers to the town of Noto, the island of Ortigia, and and the Archaeological Park of Siracusa. Enjoy the convenience of being picked from Palermo in the morning. Sit back and relax on the comfortable drive to the town of Noto. Spend some time wandering through the town on your own to see sights like the 18th-century Noto Cathedral or the balconies of the Nicolaci Palace. Continue to the the island of Ortigia. Take some free time to buy lunch or see sights like the natural freshwater spring known as the Fountain of Arethusa or the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cathedral of Syracuse. Finally, head to the Archaeological Park of Siracusa where you can purchase tickets to see the Greek theatre and the Roman amphitheater. Return to your accommodation in Palermo at the end of your tour.

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What people are saying about Palermo

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 80 reviews

This was an incredible experience. Our guide, Deborah, is a local to Palermo and so knowledgeable of her city. My mother and I were lucky to be on a private tour, and she met us even though it was a rainy day. She showed us so many great areas, churches, palaces, and bakeries around Palermo and told us lore of the Testa di Moro and origins of marzipan. Any questions we had Deborah had deep knowledge about and was an absolute joy to be with - it felt like hanging out strolling the city with a family friend - she is wonderful. We then went to Chef Patrizia's home for lunch that her cooking class (4 people) had prepared. It was truly mouthwatering and her home is gorgeous. I couldn't believe we were invited into someone's living room for the meal - she was so hospitable, kind, and fun, and she will soon be offering cooking classes in the countryside. I bought her cookbook and can't wait to go back to Palermo.

Our guide Fabrizio was fabulous. It was a rainy day and he made the best of the situation and even gave us his umbrella to use. The tour was the perfect length and the food we tried was absolutely delicious! The market we visited was amazing. Would definitely recommend this tour.

We loved our time with Fabrizio! He was so funny, kind, and knowledgeable, and we learned so much. It’s clear that Fabrizio has a great relationship with the local merchants and that he truly loves his city! Would highly recommend this tour to anyone!

Fabrizio was a great tour guide. We all learned many things about Palermo. A great sense of humor. A very enjoyable tour!

We absolutely loved our guide and the many things we were able to see in a short half-day.