The Best of Palermo: Private Half-Day Highlights Walking TourPrivate Tour
Discover the very best of Palermo on this walking tour through its stunning streets and alleys, markets, churches, piazzas, and palaces.
Adults: 2 Children: 0
Things to know
Adventurous, Family, History Buffs
You and our own professional guide. 100% exclusive
Walking tour: no transportation is included
- English Speaking Guide
- Entrance to Chiesa di Santa Caterina d'Alessandria - Entrance to Church of St. Cataldo
- Gratuities optional - Food and drink are not included - Hotel pick-up and drop-off are not included
Meeting points: Your guide will meet you outside Bisso Bistrot, Via Maqueda, 172A, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy
What makes this tour special
Experience the atmospheric hubbub of Palermo, the Sicilian capital city, on this fabulous tour of the city’s highlights. Often referred to as ‘the most conquered city in the world’, Palermo is a melting pot of culture, people, food, and architecture: The Normans, Byzantines, Arabs and many other great civilizations have left their mark on the city, dating back over 2,700 years.
On your private tour, you will:
Enjoy the personal attention of your expert private guide;
Explore the unique, fascinating, multi-layered, multi-cultural melting pot of a city that is Palermo;
Learn about the city’s unique 2,700-year history, its reputation as the ‘most conquered city in the world’ and its blend of Arabic, African, Norman and Italian cultures and styles;
Pass through the monumental city gate of Palermo, Porta Nuova;
Admire the mixture of architectural and artistic influences in the city from Byzantine to Baroque;
Enjoy the Arab souk-style markets, dating back to the 8th century;
Explore the historic centre and the grandiose Piazza Pretoria, home to the Palazzo Pretorio (city hall) and nicknamed locally Piazza della Vergogna – the Square of Shame – because of the many naked statues of river gods, tritons and leaping nymphs, that adorn the magnificent fountain in front of the Palazzo!
Enjoy a guided tour of the Church of St. Cataldo, with its faded red domes: the church provides a typical example of the blended Arab-Norman architecture, which is unique to Sicily;
Visit the Chiesa di Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, and enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful 16th-century church, terrace and monastery;
Walk around the old town, soaking up the atmosphere and see the Norman Palace, known as the Royal Palace, which today serves as the Parliament building. See the exquisite Palatine Chapel;
Admire the ‘Teatro Marmoreo’ or ‘marble statue’ from 1662: this monumental statue was erected in honour of King Philip IV Habsburg,King of Spain and Sicily. Also called Philip the Great or the Planet King, because his lands and possessions were so extensive;
End your tour outside the beautiful San Giovanni Degli Eremiti, the Monastery of St. John of the Hermits, a medieval mosque turned Catholic church and monastery.
Palermo is the vibrant capital of the Italian island of Sicily, famous for its melting pot of cultures with a varied history dating back nearly 3000 years.
Your tour will start in one of Palermo’s most lively squares, Piazza Politeama, where many locals while away their free time playing games, gossiping, and people-watching. You’ll walk south through the city’s maze of alleys and walkways through Piazza Verdi, past one of the most prestigious and largest opera houses in Italy, the Teatro Massimo, and dive into Capo Market. The Arab Souk-style markets of Palermo date back to the 8th century, and Capo is famed for its morning hustle and bustle, with its theatrical vendors, noisy haggling, and mouth-watering smells: there’ll be ample opportunity for you to buy a snack, drink or talk to a few local vendors along the way.
Known by the Normans as ‘the city of the sun’ Palermo epitomizes multi-culturalism with its seamless blend of Byzantine, Norman and Italian Baroque architectural styles throughout the city, which you’ll see most clearly as you head towards the historic centre on Via Vittorio Emmanuele: Quattro Canti, an almost perfectly symmetrical square at the meeting point of two of Palermo’s main thoroughfares. Admire the outrageously opulent Piazza Pretoria, with its glorious fountain in front of the city hall, decorated with mythical sea gods and nymphs frolicking around ‘senza vegli’ without veils!
Wonder at the 12th century Palermo cathedral built at the height of Norman rule, which is home to many royal tombs, and enjoy fully guided tours of two exquisite churches Church of St. Cataldo dating to 1154 and the perfect example of blended Byzantine and Norman style, and the lovely Chiesa di Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, with its tranquil garden and monastery. Originally it was built as a hospice in the 1300s, then became a convent for Dominican nuns, and has an extensive monastic complex with a magnificent maiolica cloister, and astounding Baroque-style church. Enjoy fabulous panoramic views of the city from the convent’s rooftop terraces.
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AAll of our tours are 100% private and exclusive, which means that it will just be you, your group and your guide on the tour.
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