Palermo is a city and seaport in Italy on the northwestern coast of Sicily, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the largest city and chief port of Sicily. Many of the oldest buildings in the city date from the period when Sicily was a Norman kingdom and show Arab, Byzantine, Norman, and Spanish influences. Outstanding examples are the cathedral (1169-1185), the Palatine Chapel (1140), and the church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti (1132).
Walk through the Medieval areas of Palermo where the main features are from Baroque and Arabian-Norman period. Another peculiarity of Palermo are the gardens and prestigious Villas. Start at Piazza Pretoria with its beautiful Renaissance fountain originally built for a villa near Florence: a piece of 16th century Tuscany in the center of an Arab-Norman city. Continue to walk the heart of the city, called: “Quattro Canti”, followed by a visit to the Cathedral: a magnificent and imposing religious building erected on the site of the old cathedral, transformed into a mosque by the Arabs and re-consecrated to the Christian cult by the Norman kings. Continue on foot to visit San Giovanni degli Eremiti one of the best known Norman monuments built by Roger II in 1136 on the site of a pre-existing Gregorian monastery. You will also have the possibility to visit San Cataldo, an example of a Norman Church located in the old city centre. It is an outstanding religious building dating back to 1160. See the Palazzo dei Normanni the most important monument of Palermo where the most obvious traces of the Norman period are Torre Pisana, Roger’s Room in the Joaria and the Palatine Chapel. Since the post-war period the Norman Palace has been the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. Take time to visit a Sicilian restaurant where you can taste all local specialty dishes from Palermo. Visit the Church of La Martorana where the more severe 12th century Norman architecture clashes with the frivolities of the Baroque style. Then on to the Capuchin Catacombs where we will be shocked by a macabre sight: 8,000 mummified bodies dressed in their best Sunday clothes and propped up against the walls! Procced to the Zisa Castle commissioned by the Norman King William I, but built by his Muslim architects who used all their Middle-Eastern know-how. Endy our day with a stroll through the famous open market “Vucciria” which is the busiest and largest market in Palermo and offers the typical market ware of everyday objects, Sicilian curiosities, as well as a wide selection of fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.
Shopping: Dating back to the 15th century, marionettes represent characters from Southern Italy's history. They are made of wood with strongs and metal wires. The craft Sicilian puppetry is protected as a form of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.