Palermo (Sicily) Itineraries and Tours
DAY 1, 2 & 3 - PALERMO
Within the City of Palermo, Sicily, there lies great hidden treasures waiting to be discovered of palaces, castles and churches that define this unique architecture. The raw energy of this City is actually quite contagious when experiencing. Palermo is large but quite manageable, although you’ll need more than just a day to do so if you want to remember it. The City of Palermo is split into four major quarters that divides the historic center and contains most of the City’s sights.
The Capo is a web of interconnected streets and alleys extraordinary and enormous in size. The Mercato del Capo is the main and famous street market held inside the Capo and running the length of Via Sant’Agostino. This colorful activity lights up the streets in the day and offers grand opportunity within it. The Chiesa della Concezione is the madly marbled masterpiece that sits close to the center of the quarter, close to the Sant’Agostino monastery that still stands proud with it’s fabulous decorations. The crypt and treasury contain jewels that belonged to Queen Costanza of Aragon, along with the bejeweled Norman Crown. The unique and mystical treasures found within the Capo truly can’t be found anywhere else. The authentic and historic geometric patterns, architecture and blind archways are remarkable. The largest and grandest of all sites within the Capo is the cathedral. The beauty and quality of this 1072 originally built cathedral can only be captured in person. It’s truly extraordinary.
There are grand architectural gems within this quarter as well that are astounding and unique. The Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Zita demonstrated the wealth and status of the 17th Century celebrities and royalty of the time. The nobles of Palermo covered these grand statues in the stuccowork specific and unique to the day. These awe-inspiring structures, statures and spaces truly demonstrate the splendor and excellence of the day past. Within Vucciria lies the street market famous to the area; Mercato della Vucciria. This street market is notorious within Palermo as one of the best and most active. Finally the Museo Archeologico Regionale is the Renaissance monastery that lies north along Via Roma. This great monastery displays some of Sicily’s most valuable Greek and Roman artifacts. The courtyard surrounding this great monastery also displays hidden and marvelous treasures that decorate the landscape. This is a fulfilled venture and journey with plenty of sights to see, treasures to be found and architecture to experience.
Surprising to some that La Kalsa would ever be deemed worthy of visiting, due to its incredible history of near annihilation during WW11, but it certainly is. As a matter of fact, due to that very reason authorities place restoration under this once great and now again, quarter. There is a great gallery resting in this quarter, Galleria Regionale Siciliana that holds exhibits from 15th Century artists, both known and unknown. This gallery is hidden by the Via Alloro, which is also part of the insightful look from the middles ages to 18th Century architectural planning. Just a short distance south of the gallery lies one of the only examples of northern Gothic style in Sicily, Complessa di Santa Maria dello Spasimo. This church/convent has stood for centuries without a roof, making for a powerful exhibit.
The Piazza Marina stands as one of the historic marks of bravery, courage and reminder of what this land and quarter went through. Inside the Piazza Marina lies the Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri which used to be the headquarters for the Inquisition and where heretics were routinely put to death. Although it might sound a bit heavy to see, it’s truly an amazing sight to witness the courage of this area. The beauty surrounding this great place is inspiring and demands great respect. On a better and more pleasant note, the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette, also within the Piazza Marina, holds and houses over 3500 puppets and glove puppets from Italy, China and Turkey. You can actually witness a live puppet show displaying these gorgeous ornaments and decorated figures.
It’s clear in Sicily, specifically Palermo, the festivals, celebrations and events fill the days and nights, streets and piazza’s. This is truly City you won’t want to miss! The excitement, history and possibility within this City is endless. Even the suburbs of Palermo exhibit the diversity of the culture and yet the unity to live together. The locals are full of life and on-the-edge living, welcoming all foreigners to experience their great City. The events within the City demonstrate the top-end restaurants and food, while showcasing the incredible talent in art and performance. The appeal of Palermo rests in the raw lives of the people and its splendorous energy within the culture. This, now called modern City, offers the shops unique and specific to its streets alone. The backstreets of the markets holds the feel of Middle Eastern culture, while offering a little taste of everything. The life in Palermo is full, warm-hearted, welcoming and greatly exciting to experience. It’s truly worth the trip down the great streets of Palermo, Sicily.