What to do and see in Palermo, Italy: The Best Places and Tips

November 29, 2017 Giuseppe Pratt

Palermo is an urban melting pot characterized by history and culture so diverse that it often feels conflicted. Discover an intriguing range of architectural styles, from Arabian domes to baroque buildings, and enjoy delicious cuisine that spans a variety of origins. Be sure to visit the Palace of the Normans, the Palatine Chapel and the church of St. John of the Hermits. Art and music lovers won’t want to miss the Galleria d’Arte Moderna (the “GAM”), the Salinas or an opera or ballet at the Teatro Massimo.
Restaurants in Palermo

1. Palazzo Conte Federico

Piazza Conte Federico 2, 90134, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 651 1881
Excellent
90%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 360 reviews

Palazzo Conte Federico

The palazzo is in the center of the old city only a few steps away from the Norman Palace. the Cathedral and the Market Ballarò. The oldest part of the palace is an Arab-Norman Tower of the 12th century. You can observe verious architectural styles, high painted ceilings of the 15th century, baroque ceiling frescoes by Vito D'Anna and Gaspare Serenario, various collections and original furniture. Since Count Federico's family, which can be followed back to the Hohenstaufen Emperor Friedrich II, has lived in this palace for centuries, the personal atmosphere makes a visit to this historical building a unique experience.

Reviewed By marcsutter - San Francisco, California

Fantastic tour of historic Palazzo in Palermo. Andrea (one of the sons) led the tour in English and walked us through the rich history of the building but also of Palermo. Well worth the 10 eruos and we foudn out that you can also spend the night there through Airbnb...worth looking into!

2. Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (La Martorana)

Piazza Bellini 3, 90133, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 616 1692
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (La Martorana)

This chapel is known for its superb gold Byzantium mosaics.

Reviewed By Letizia L - Palermo, Sicilia, Italy

The magnificent historical place, the marvellous architecture and the enchanting mosaics made me and my future husband choose this church for our wedding. I definitely suggest foreign tourists to go!

3. Chiesa del Gesu

Piazza Casa Professa 1, 90134, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 332213
Excellent
78%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 977 reviews

Chiesa del Gesu

Reviewed By Declan2004Ireland - Ireland

Jesuit church dating back to 1550. Contains a striking ceiling fresco over the high alter. There is also a number of other internal chapels all of which are very ornate

4. Oratorio di Santa Cita

Via Valverde 3, 90133, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 332779
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 567 reviews

Oratorio di Santa Cita

Reviewed By not-a-redshirt - Montreal, Canada

Very unusual in that the interior decoration is mostly plaster carvings, of figures and of scenes. The detail is extraordinary and it could take hours to take it all in. The original entrance hall also houses a full gallery of portraiture of the Oratorio members all along the perimeter. Also take notice of the exquisite wood marquetry inlay of the benches along the walls. The level of craftsmanship is over the top. Sit and enjoy, contemplate, discuss.

5. Nobile e Monumentale Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo

Via di Porta Carini, 90134, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 327 453 2153
Excellent
89%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 186 reviews

Nobile e Monumentale Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione al Capo

Reviewed By Mark B - Cesena, Italy

located in the city center of Palermo, this church is a great place where to shelter for a pray. recommended

6. Museum of tiles Stanze al Genio

Via Garibaldi 11 | Angolo Via Magione, 90133, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 380 367 3773
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 508 reviews

Museum of tiles Stanze al Genio

Reservations required!! The museum is open year round for a visit but you must book your visit by email or phone. For Reservations just call a few hours before the appointment and agree to the tour. The visits are carried out only in Italian / english.

Reviewed By Deborah S - Los Angeles, California

Stenciled tiles from the 1840s. Original tiles from1860. TIle from1800s. TIle from 1700s Naples. Sicily tiles 1890 to 1910. And that's only what I got to jot down as my little group toured this private collection and learned so much. You get to learn about technique and see all the artistry of the tiles from a docent that really knows this stuff.
It's all housed in an outwardly unassuming apartment in Palermo.
An apartment that just keeps getting better and better as it's renovated. I enjoyed seeing a beautiful ceiling fresco they found under white paint as they renovated. What new discoveries will you see as you enjoy this rare collection?
The government tourism office doesn't tell you about this great private collection. Only Lonely Planet and a few guides know about it, and now you because you have read about this place on Trip Advisor. :)

7. Oratorio di San Lorenzo

Via Immacolatella 5, 90133, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 611 8168
Excellent
76%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 454 reviews

Oratorio di San Lorenzo

Reviewed By Matthias S

Also amazing stuccowork. But the highlight is a huge painting of anton van dyck. And its one of his best works. Who would have guessed.
Its not crowed in there and the girls at the ticket counter are really friendly. Book it together with the other oratorium around the corner

8. Affresco del Trionfo della morte

Via Alloro 4 | Palazzo Abatellis, 90133, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 623 0011
Excellent
78%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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4.5 based on 274 reviews

Affresco del Trionfo della morte

Located in Palermo's Regional Art Gallery, the well-known "Triumph of Death" fresco dates from the fifteenth century, but the artist is unknown.

Reviewed By michael s - Syracuse, Italy

Da Messina does a painting on a woman who has just seen an alien with information relating to the survival of the human race...the model, the paint, the style, the painter capture this moment...or do they?...mesmerising to say the least..your call

9. Ustica

Ustica PA, 90010, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Excellent
75%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
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4.5 based on 427 reviews

Ustica

A tiny volcanic island off Sicily's northern coast.

Reviewed By greekcypriot2009 - GREECE&CYPRUS

We had a remarkable day trip taking the Ferry for Ustica from Palermo Harbour. The island retains its charm and history with a gorgeous rocky landscape. Excavations have dated settlements here for hundreds of years, while the current population is just over 1300.
This tiny island lies in the Tyrrhenian Sea and is roughly 50km from the coast of Sicily and Palermo. Worth visiting if you have time!

10. San Giuseppe dei Teatini

Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo, Sicily, Italy +39 091 331239
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 470 reviews

San Giuseppe dei Teatini

Reviewed By Ken M - Brisbane

Free entry - discrete photography allowed.
Another amazing church in Palermo - right in the centre of the main tourist area, so if you are passing and the doors are open, it's definitely worthwhile visiting.
There was a wedding on the afternoon I poked my head in the door ... !!! ... so I discretely stood up the back of the church to listen to the organ music and to look in awe at the magnificent decor.

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