What to see
Plan your Palermo sightseeing adventure. Palermo.com offers many ideas of things to see in Palermo. Palermo sights range from historical and ancient museums to Medieval castles and churches.
Don’t Miss These Key Palermo Sights
Palermo is full of worthy destinations, and in the historic district in can seem as though they are all competing for your attention. This is one of the reasons why most guidebooks and travel agents recommend that you spend at least three days in Palermo sightseeing. However, if you don’t have time to see it all, you should at least be sure to hit Palermo’s “Must See” attractions.
Of all the things to see in Palermo, few showcase as completely the differing influences that have swept through the city. Built on an older religious site in the 1100’s, the Palermo Cathedral mixes Muslim, Gothic, Romantic, Renaissance, and Modern styles to create a perfectly Palermitian attraction. It is also home to the Tesora Museum, which pays tribute to the Sicily Kings and showcases the crown jewel collection.
Refurbished and shining, the Teatro Massimo is one of the premier Palermo sights. It is the largest theatre in Italy and presents a full slate of performances each year. The main season runs from November to May, but the summer performances outside are not to be missed either.
Festival di Morgana
UNESCO has labeled the November Festival di Morgana as a unique treasury of living history. The best Sicilian puppet masters and puppet makers present works of unbelievable beauty in the finest oral tradition throughout the month. If you can’t make it to the city in November, you can see the puppets on display at the Marionette Museum.
No Palermo sightseeing adventure would be complete without a tour through one of the city’s outdoor markets. Blending flea market, casbah, souk, and haggler’s heaven, the markets in Palermo vibrate with energy. The street foods are one attraction, and the goods quite another. See them at the Vucciria, Borgo Vecchio, Capo, Ballaro, or Piazza Perani.
Built in the 12th century, this hunting lodge of the Norman Kings highlighted the architectural influences of the Moorish tribes who had only recently been conquered. Now a museum and gallery of Islamic art, the Zisa is open weekdays for tours and offers English Guides.
One of the most memorable Palermo sights is underground. More than 8,000 corpses have been mummified and put on display in the Catacombs of the Capuchins, a monastic order whose ossuary is under the Santa Maria della Concezione. Embalmed using a formula that has been lost, the faces of the past wait to greet you in all their living color.