Piazza Pretoria, also called square of Shame by the people from Palermo, is famous for its beautiful fountain made for the Spanish aristocrat Don Luigi Toledo by the sculptor Francesco Camilliani in Florence in 1554. Then it was sold to the city of Palermo. The fountain is surrounded by Palazzo Pretorio, seat of the local government, the church of Santa Caterina, palazzo Bonocore and palazzo Bordonaro.
Palazzo delle Aquile
Palazzo delle Aquile, also called Palazzo Pretorio or Palazzo di Città, is in piazza Pretoria, where you can admire the famous white marble fountain by the sculptor Francesco Camilliani.
The Palace was built in 1470 and lies exactly in the middle of the ancient Palermo. It was paid by the citizens.
Church of Santa Caterina
The church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, built between 1566 and 1596, lies exactly in the middle of the old town of Palermo.
The main entrance overlooks piazza Bellini, where you can admire St. Mary of the Admiral and the church of St. Cataldo, while the side entrance overlooks piazza Pretoria. It is one of the richest and most decorated churches of the city.
Quattro Canti, also known as piazza Vigliena o Teatro del Sole, is a crossroads between two very important streets of the city, via Vittorio Emanuele and via Maqueda, and lies in the middle of the main old districts. At the four corners of the square there are the facades of eighteenth-century buildings with fountains surmounted by statues representing the four seasons.
Palazzo Merendino-Costantino is an old noble mansion in Palermo. It is in via Maqueda, near Quattro Canti. The palace, next to palazzo Napoli, was built by Giuseppe Merendino on a old base of 17th century. Inside you can admire a wide courtyard with a pseudo-porch on Ionic columns made of Castellammare red marble.
It stretches between via Roma, la Cala, the Cassaro and Garraffello square. The name comes from the French word boucherie, that means butcher’s shop. At the beginning, in fact, it was a place where animals were slaughtered and meat was sold. Then it became a fish, vegetable and fruit market.
Chiesa del Gesù
Chiesa del Gesù, also called Casa Professa, dates back to the end of 16th century. In the facade there is a eighteenth-century statue representing the ‘Madonna della Grotta’, but it is the inside that is really magnificent. A masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque, here you can admire stucco and sculptures by Gagini, polychrome marble and paintings by Novelli.
Chiesa dello Spasimo
The church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo is in the Kalsa district in Palermo, between piazza Magione, where you can also admire the famous Basilica della Magione, and via Lincoln. It is a typical Gothic-Renaissance building with one large central aisle and two side chapels. Near the church you can also see 16th century fortifications.
Chiesa del Ss. Salvatore
The church of Santissimo Salvatore is in corso Vittorio Emanuele, one of the main streets of the city. The church is built on an old monastery, founded at the end of 12th century, just after the Norman conquest of the city. The plan has the form of stretched dodecagon inscribed in an ellipse. The inner walls are richly decorated with precious polychrome marble.
The historical market Ballarò is in the old town of Palermo. The name comes from the old goods of the Arab traders who lived in the village of Balhara, near Monreale. During the Middle Ages it was the market of special meat, fish and spices. It stretches from Casa Professa square to the bastions of corso Tukory.
Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele of Palermo is the biggest opera house in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. it is the third in size after the Opéra National de Paris and Vienna State Opera.
The construction of Teatro Massimo dates back to the end of 19th century. It is imposing and massive.
Teatro Politeama was designed by Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda, young architect. The imposing Teatro Politeama is an important example of neoclassical architecture, it has a large entrance and at the top of it there is the bronze quadriga by Mario Rutelli that represents the ‘Triumph of Apollo and Euterpe’ and on either side of it a bronze horse made by Benedetto Civiletti.
Tourist harbour La Cala
The Cala stretches from via Francesco Crispi to Foro Italico. Today it is a tourist harbour, while in the past it was the oldest harbour of the city of Palermo. Phoenicians were the first who used the natural bay of La Cala where the rivers Kemonia e Papireto flows into. The old harbour was guarded by Castello a Mare, whose remains you can still see.
Palermo Cathedral is an imposing magnificent building in Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Since it is included in the Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale UNESCO itinerary. The wonderful facade is framed by two belfries at the sides of the Cathedral.
Church of Martorana
The church of Martorana, i.e. the church of S. Maria dell’Ammiraglio, is in piazza Bellini. The church is named after the Syrian admiral Giorgio d’Antiochia who wanted to erect the building to thank the Blessed Virgin Mary for her protection. The church was made following the typical models of late Byzantine churches.
Royal Palace of Palermo best known as Norman Palace, is the oldest royal palace in Europe and residence of the sovereigns of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Moreover, under Frederick II it became imperial seat. On the first floor there is the wonderful ‘Palatine Chapel’ with its wonderful mosaics. The building is in the oldest area of Palermo, on a Punic settlement.
Via Libertà, is an avenue in the very heart of Palermo where you can go shopping. This beautiful avenue lined with plane trees is long more than 2 kilometres and along it you can admire piazza Ruggero Settimo, piazza Castelnuovo and piazza Vittorio Veneto. Built in 1848, now via Libertà is a crucial shopping street.
Via Ruggero Settimo
Via Ruggero Settimo is one of the main shopping streets in Palermo. This old street connects piazza Verdi, where you can admire Teatro Massimo, with piazza Castelnuovo, where lies Teatro Politeama. Via Ruggero Settimo has been called ‘Palermo parlour’ thanks to the great number of shops.
Palermo offers a lot of interesting events and places to spend your evenings. You can start with a nice aperitif and stay up until the morning to enjoy Palermo nightlife. In the old town you can choose among a lot of pubs where you can have fun, dance, listen live music or just enjoy a relaxing aperitif.
Mondello is a seaside town you cannot miss if you come to Palermo. In this beautiful town you find a lot of pubs near the beach and is the core of summer nightlife in Palermo. The most famous building in Mondello is the 1913 Art Nouveau old beach facilities best known as ‘Le Terrazze’.