Palermo: An Introduction

The Carthaginian settlement in the 8th century B.C.E., turned the Palermo area, already inhabited since prehistoric times, into an important commercial emporium named Panormus. The settlement further gained in importance under the Romans. From the 6th to the 9th century, it passed into Byzantine hands, a period considered to be one of decadence. Yet the successive Arab and Norman conquests were decisive in transforming Palermo into one of the most splendid cities in the Mediterranean. Its artistic and cultural splendor continued to increase until the beginning of the 19th century, principally under Iberian influence. Today, Palermo remains one of the most exuberant cities in Europe, being an extremely rich patchwork of cultures, architectures and traditions. It is often described as a daunting place to visit, but its patrimony is so impressive that it ought to be seen and understood by aficionados of history, art, architecture and, of course, food. Our dedicated team of local experts will help you decipher the extraordinary heritage of Sicily’s capital.

Your Palermo walk in a half day covers:
Piazza Verdi to admire the imposing Teatro Massimo (Palermo’s Opera House) and the delightful Liberty Kiosks designed by the famous Sicilian architect G.B. Filippo Basile in 1875.
- The Capo market, one of the city’s four markets of medieval origin. This is a thriving market with colourful and dazzling stalls flanked by numerous sumptuous baroque churches.
-The Cathedral of Palermo performed protective -as a fortress- as well as religious functions from the 6th century onwards. It also served as a funeral temple for kings, their families, and archbishops.
-The Quattro Canti marks the apogee of the Baroque period in Palermo. It was conceived as a scenic space with four richly decorated concave façades. Effectively, it is the point that unifies the four mains urban divisions of the city.
- Piazza Pretoria with its Fountain, a landmark of Palermo’s manneristic period and the focal point for nude statues of nymphs, humans, mermaids and satyrs, charged in symbolic meaning.
- Piazza Bellini, the churches of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (la Martorana) and San Cataldo, built in 1160 during the apogee of the Norman reign, they show some wonderful examples of syncretic architecture.
- Piazza Marina encloses a superb public garden, the palazzo Chiaramonte -once the siege of the inquisition in Sicily- and multiple medieval, baroque and neo-Gothic buildings that coexist harmoniously.

Rates for this private Palermo walk: 1-4 people  € 290  /  5-8 people € 320
Tour duration: ca. 3.5h
Incidentals: admission tickets (€ 9,00)

Your Palermo walk in a full day covers: all the sites mentioned in the half-day tour, as well as,
San Francesco d’Assisi, one of the most interesting edifices of Palermo. Its façade presents a superb Gothic portal and a magnificent rose window above. Its interior is no less fascinating with beautiful chapels and a breathtaking Saint George on horseback by Antonello Gagini.
- The Oratorio di San Lorenzo, an oratory decorated with joyous putti, full length figures and sculpted ‘teatrini’ by Giacomo Serpotta, one of Sicily’s most important sculptors.
- The Cappella Palatina, built under the rule of king Roger II, it is a wonderful testimony to the successful fusion of multiple artistic and architectonic traditions, namely, Arabic, Byzantine and Latin.

Rates for this private tour in Palermo: 1-4 people € 380  /  5-8 people € 420
Tour duration: ca. 7h
Incidentals: admission tickets (€ 24,00)

For lunch, your guide will be able to suggest some delicious Palermitan restaurants.

Contact us to book this private tour of Palermo, we will let you know about our availability and answer any questions you may have.