Must-see architectures in Palermo

Cattedrale di Palermo: I could be content by just observing its façade. It has a rich architecture with different shapes and techniques that represents all the cultural diversity that Palermo is made of: Roman, Norman, Greek, Arabic, and even a touch of Sicilian Baroque. A great mix that could not have been more successful. However, because it was built in 1184, the Norman style prevails - typical of the 12th century - easily identifiable due to its towers. At the same time, it is a religious and architectural symbol that has changed over time. It not only housed more than one cult, but it also had significant changes in its structure: the construction of the cupola itself - seen from afar and very beautiful - centuries after its original construction.

Cattedrale di Palermo in Sicily

Massimo Theater: It was the first major theater ever built in Italy and it is the third largest in Europe to date, after the Paris and Vienna Operas. It is the most important place to listen to classical music and go to concerts and ballets in the city of Palermo. It is well worth the visit, even if you are not going to an event (you can book a guided tour in several languages). The café is cute, full of old photographs and pleasant to drink or eat something throughout the day. In time: it is impossible not to associate the stairs of Massimo with the unforgettable scene of the third part of The Godfather trilogy, where Mary, the daughter, is killed and falls into the arms of her father Michael Corleone. 

Massimo Theatre in Palermo

Santíssimo Salvatore: It is not the most touristy and visited place in the city – as  the Cathedral and the Massimo Theater is - so it has fewer queues and turmoil, depending on the season. There we find one of the best - if not the best - rooftop to enjoy a beautiful view of the entire city of Palermo. You can do both tours: visit the church of Santissimo Salvatore – with beautiful Baroque architecture - and climb to the cupola (easy and not tiring) to admire the beauties of the city. I visited it in early spring so I had the opportunity to enjoy a sunny and colorful Palermo.

Palermo from above the church of Santíssimo Salvatore

Teatro Politeama Garibaldi: It is a beautiful historic patrimony of Palermo but for many years it went through some difficulties due to the negligence of authorities regarding its care, what lead it through moments of decay, abandonment and even closure. Today, fortunately, it has been surviving through a (very shy) work of revitalization and preservation. There are some interesting musical shows here and there, even though it has a much larger potential. You can also pay to climb to its rooftop and admire the city - I recommend doing this at night!

Palazzo Reale or Palazzo dei Normanni: It is a very majestic building - beautiful to admire at night too - and, like many important buildings of the city, different civilizations had their hands and power on it. Inside, it houses an unbelievable jewel called Cappella Palatina, commissioned by the first king of Sicily Ruggero II d'Altavilla. What a place!! A lot of Arabic influence, with the ever so common presence of very expressive Roman, Byzantine and Islamic styles, this chapel is a huge symbol of the cultural syncretism that has always hovered throughout Sicily. Today the palace houses the Regional Assembly of Sicily.


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