5 good reasons to go to Palermo
To see / do
Culture and history
The Palace of the Normans and its chapel
The Palace of the Normans is one of Palermo's most iconic crown jewels. This royal residence was built over Arab foundations in the 12th century. Its Torre Pisana, Room of King Roger and treasure chamber are sumptuous, and the palace is also home to the Palatine Chapel, a masterpiece embellished with mosaics and gilding.
Built in the 12th century over the site of a former mosque, the cathedral is home to the tombs of kings Henry VI, Frederick II and Roger II and is a majestic example of Arab-Norman, Gothic and Baroque styles as a result of centuries of alterations. The pared-back nave gives onto opulently-embellished chapels and a choir area decorated with precious stones and materials.
Lose yourself in the catacombs' maze
Between Monreale (make sure you visit the cathedral and its cloisters) and Palermo, a dark, unsettling experience awaits. This underground adventure is not for the faint-hearted! The Capuchin Catacombs enclose nearly 8,000 mummies, with the oldest dating back to the 17th century. The bodies of Palermo's noble men and women are preserved here, hung on the walls and laid down in alcoves.
A night at the theatre
The Massimo theatre is one of Palermo's most impressive buildings. Built in the late 19th century, this is one of Europe's largest theatres and can seat up to 1,500 audience members. Climb the sweeping staircase and step into the opulent rooms here during a tour or get tickets to see a show.
Dazzle your senses at the market
The Mercator di Ballard market is a treat for the senses in the heart of Palermo's old town. Colours and smells ride the breeze here as stall-holders lay out their wares in a warm, lively atmosphere. Fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish, meat and pastries are on hand to give you a real taste of authentic Sicily.
Sfincione, pizza Palermo-style
Here in the spiritual home of pizza, you'll be able to grab a slice at every street corner. Palermo has its own regional take on the delicacy, called sfincione. The dough base is extremely light and fluffy, and slathered in tomato sauce, onions, anchovies and caciocavallo, a delicious local cheese. Tuck into a slice at a trattoria or grab pizza to go from a food truck.
Torta savoia, Sicilian cake
Nobody does dessert quite like Sicily, and torta savoia is unbeatable. This cake features alternating layers of sponge drenched in rum-flavoured syrup, chocolate cream and hazelnut cream. The torta is finished off with a chocolate coating.
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