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Virtual Italy Tour of Palermo

Overview of Palermo

One of the oldest and most popular capital cities in Italy is the capital of Sicily, which is Palermo. Located on the northwestern side of the island, this city is known for a lot of great things. These include architecture, culture, gastronomy, and of course, history. With a 2,700 year existence, having been founded by Phoenicians in 734 BC, the city is without a doubt one of the most interesting places in all of Italy.

Teatro Massimo in Palermo Italy

Teatro Massimo in Palermo Italy

While a lot of the towns and cities on the island feature Baroque, Medieval, and Renaissance architecture, Palermo is a city that has many Norman style buildings. As with most densely populated areas in the country, Palermo also has a lot of tourist attractions and majestic buildings for visitors to see. These include churches, museums, palaces, piazzas, and teatros.

Where to Go and What to See

If you are into Norman architecture, then you will want to explore the many buildings in Palermo that are built in this style. These include palaces, churches, opera houses, and botanical gardens. Not all the structures here are Norman in design however, with a few following other architectural cues that became popular in later years.

Palazzo dei Normanni – This building is said to date back to the 9th century, and is built on the highest point of the city’s ancient center. The palace became the residence of the King of Sicily when the Normans conquered the area in 1072. Some of the most notable features of this palace are its magnificent mosaics, fine marble floors, and lower marble encrusted walls. Also called the Royal Palace of Palermo, this building is considered the oldest of all royal residences in all of Europe.

Teatro Massimo – This opera house which stands in the Piazza Verde is the third largest in Europe and is actually the largest opera house in all of Italy. It is very popular for its fantastic acoustics and its unique mixture of Sicilian architecture, neoclassical Greek-inspired designs. While the opera house was initially designed to seat 3,000 people, the current capacity can accommodate only 1,381 guests in its horseshoe shape. Here’s a bit of trivia about this opera house: Did you know that the last scenes of the movie The Godfather Part III were actually filmed here?

What to Do

Aside from enjoying the old buildings and piazzas around you, there are other things that can occupy your time in this majestic and ancient city of Palermo. Here are a few activities and things to do that you might want to consider while you are here:

Fruits in Palermo Food Market

Fruits in Palermo Food Market

Visit the Palermo Food Markets – While the most popular food market in the city is Ballaro, there are a couple more you can choose to visit here, which are Vucciria and Cap. These are all found right in the middle of the city, which make them easy to get to. You will find lots to sample and buy at these markets, and these include pastries, fruits, fish, shellfish, olives, meat, and cheese, to name but a few. If you really want to interact with locals and get a true feel of the city, these markets are one of the best places to do that.

Buy Vintage Items at Specialty Stores – If you love collecting old stuff, you will love the vintage specialty stores in Palermo. You will find 1970s platform heels, brocade outfits, old silk ties, and even satin heels from Chanel in specialty vintage stores here. You can even find jewelry, ceramics, decorative pieces, and other old timeless collectibles in these stores.

Visiting Palermo is often part of a list of places tourists visit in Sicily when they book a guided or packaged tour. Other cities that are usually added to such a list include Syracuse, Monreale, Taormina, and Agrigento. If there are places in Sicily apart from Palermo and these other popular tourist destinations, you might want to book a custom trip instead.