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Discover the Kalsa District in Palermo
"Part punic part phoenician part Roman part Arab: there is no doubt the city of Palermo has an exciting background. Kalsa from the Arabic al- Halisah that means 'Elected' was the fortified citadel during the Islamic domination of Palermo seat of the emir and his ministers.There were Mediterranean gardens
From EUR139.00
Palermo Walking Tour: among Puppets and Puppetry
"From the “vastasate” first expression of the Sicilian dialectal theater from which the Opera dei Pupi originated to the ""teatrini"" small stucco decorations made by Giacomo Serpotta a famous artist of the eighteenth century the same artist who also decorated some amazing oratories in Palermo.An itinerary among art
From EUR149.00
Palermo Segway Tour
"Meet your friendly guide in the center of Palermo and start with an orientation session to get familiar with your two-wheeled electric self-balancing Segway. Once you feel comfortable you’ll weave through Palermo’s streets following your guide at a steady pace.Glide across to Piazza Verdi to see Teatro Massimo – Italy’s largest opera house – and swing past Capo Market where a mish-mash of busy alleyways are home to stalls selling some of Palermo’s best food. Maneuv too
From EUR99.00

Cathedral Tips (29)


The Cathedral of Palermo is an architectural complex. It is characterized by the presence of different styles, due to a long history of additions, alterations and restorations, the last of which occurred in the 18th century.
The right side has outstretching turrets and a wide portico (the current entrance) in Gothic-Catalan style, with three arcades, erected around 1465 and openening to the square. The first column on the left belonged to the original basilica and the subsequent mosque, as testified by the Qur'an verse carved on it.

pecsihornet's Profile Photo
Sep 29, 2007

Re-sanctified beauty

The Cattedrale di Palermo is another church that was constructed in the general effort to wipe out any trace of Muslim influence in Catholic countries. It was begun in 1185 on the site of an earlier basilica that the Saracens had converted into a Mosque. The church has undergone repeated "restorations", the last of which was done in 1781, which were actually thinly veiled attempts to change the very essence of the building. The right hand side of the Cathedral, which is the entrance, is in Catalan Gothic form and dates from about 1465. The earliest part of the Cathedral is actually the apse, which dates from the 1100s. The south-west side dates from the 14th and 15th centuries, which the copula is a work of the Florentine Fuga, who undertook the 18th century "renovations". Inside, the Cathedral is in a Latin cross form with three naves. The towers date from Norman times (there are four of them) and are near the copula (although, clearly, unrelated to it).

In all, this Cathedral is too complex to describe clearly in a such a small space, largely because it is not a cohesive, single effort but represents the changing political fortunes of the island and the various influences on its culture and art. More than anything, however, visiting the Cathedral is the only means of properly appreciating just how large and spectacular it is, particularly if you go early and are one of the few people there.

mikey_e's Profile Photo
Sep 05, 2007

Would have liked a look inside!

The cathedral is known officially as "Santa Maria Assunta" or Saint Mary of the Assumption. It was built in 1184 by the Norman king William II in the place of a Muslim mosque and you can see a little of the Moorish style as an influence in the decorations of the exterior (see additional photo). It has undergone major changes over the years, with renovations and additions, such as the cupola constructed in 1785. This dome contrasts (some say clashes) with the Norman Arab arches and the exterior's intended effect. Nevertheless we found it an imposing building and were disappointed to find that it was closed for “special cleaning” – I hope the new clean interior is worthy of this extra effort, but we won’t be there to see it unfortunately.

The cathedral is set back from the road (Corso Vittorio Emanuele) and separated from it by attractive gardens which make a peaceful spot in which to linger and enjoy the exterior of this striking building.

toonsarah's Profile Photo
Nov 05, 2006


Built in 1184 by the Norman king William II in the place of a Muslim mosque, the cathedral has undergone several renovations over the centuries, which have resulted in its current Neo-Classical style.
The fourteenth-century door and the Gothic-Catalan style portico are worthy of note. The treasures that are kept inside, including some precious objects and embroidery found in the tombs of the Kings and emperors must be seen.

ruki's Profile Photo
Oct 09, 2005
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From 12th century onwards.....

The cathedral is spectacular, started under the period of Norman rule in 1185 as a chapel built on the site of a former mosque, the capella been added to in different centuries and has been built around and renewed to become today's giant cathedral (parts of the Norman structure remain) , and the and the crypt, treasury and tombs (for which there is a nominal entrance charge) reflect these various styles over the centuries.
The square is veey pleasant with plenty of seating also, Palermo is another place where you are constantly on the hoof !

Paisleypaul's Profile Photo
Sep 22, 2005

The cathedral

During the Norman domination, in 1184 the archbishop of Palermo Walter Offamilio started the construction of a splendid cathedral to replace the Muslim mosque with a Christian church.
Over the centuries the additions and restorations modified the original building: the most radical change was made by Ferdinando Fuga in 1771 and in 1809. He was an architect from Florence and gave to the interior of the church a neoclassical aspect.
Visiting the Cathedral it is important to observe:

the XIV century portal with bronze doors,

the long right side is decorated with a scenic portico in Catalan-Gothic style from the XV century, under which there is a highly decorated portal by Antonio Gambarra in 1426,

the apses kept their original form of the XII century.

The Cathedral contains the Royal and Imperial tombs. Among the people buried there are Roger II, Henry VI of Hohenstaufen, Costance de Hauteville, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. Among the numerous chapels there is Santa Rosalia's, where in a silver urn done in 1631, there are kept the ashes of the patron Saint of Palermo.

There is lastly fine treasure, comprising precious objects and pieces of embroidery found in Royal and Imperial tombs, holy vestments, chalices, ostensories.

Propermark's Profile Photo
Sep 06, 2005


The cathedral has been much modified and "improved" over the centuries starting from the 12C.The corner towers have tiny minarets typical of the adoption by the Normans of local influences. They also built a campanile (across the street, partly supported by heavy arches. The W facade (seen in our intro) is 15C Gothic.The Spanish added Baroque throughout the interior and the dome.There are so many sights that we made a Travelog of the inside and porch.

hquittner's Profile Photo
Jun 15, 2005

Palermo Cathedral

The Palermo Cathedral was built in the place of an ancient muslim mosque in 1184 by order of a norman King called William II.
The Cathedral suffered several renovations through the centuries, thus resulting in it's neo-classical style

bambino36's Profile Photo
Oct 10, 2004
Oleg_D.'s Profile Photo


"Capital of Arabic, Norman and Spanish Sicily"
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Propermark's Profile Photo


"Palermo - My Home Town"
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TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo


"Palermo, past and present"
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Paisleypaul's Profile Photo


"Sicilian capital on the up"
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ruki's Profile Photo


"P A L E R M O!!!!!!!"
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The Cattedrale

The Cathedral was founded in 1185, but construction wasn't finished for centuries. It's set back from Corso Vittorio Emanuele with its own small gardens. It's an odd but spectacular sight; a very striking building with contrasting architectural styles. The eastern end of the exterior is twelfth-century original. The dome was added in the late eighteenth-century. It's much more interesting from the outside - the interior was "modernized" at the same time as the dome was added, and it's somewhat cold and lacking in the character of the other Palermitan churches. Inside, you can see a number of royal tombs such as that of Roger II, and can also gain access to the treasury and crypt (Mon - Sat 9:30am - 5:30pm, 1 euro 50).

Opening hours:
Mon - Sat - 7am - 7pm
Sun - 8am - 1:30pm and 4pm - 7 pm

monkeyfeesh's Profile Photo
Apr 11, 2004


The cathedral was first begun in the 12th century. Originally designed as a Byzantine structure that was later renovated as a Mosque to provide a place of worship for the Islamic influence on this island. Later with Christian influence and construction that spanned hundreds of years the cathedral took shape as an enormously impressive, and aesthetically intriguing structure. The Gothic facade (which took more than 200 years to complete) is awesome !

patrikske's Profile Photo
Jul 25, 2003


This building is build in Normandic Arabic style. It was build in the 12th century.
The building is very impressive and you must see it when you visit Palermo.
Inside you can see the relic of Saint Rosalia, the patron of the city and some graves of Normandic kings.

Martino100's Profile Photo
Jun 11, 2003


During the Norman domination, in 1184 the archbishop of Palermo Walter Offamilio started the construction of a splendid cathedral to replace the Muslim mosque with a Christian church.
Over the centuries the additions and restorations modified the original building: the most radical change was made by Ferdinando Fuga in 1771 and in 1809. He was an architect from Florence and gave to the interior of the church a neoclassical aspect.

Jun 03, 2003

Things to Do Near Palermo

Things to Do

Galleria Regionale di Sicilia

The Galleria Regionale di Sicilia. This is a sad museum to visit, because the works of art are not properly taken care of. Employees smoke RIGHT NEXT TO THE CANVASES. Elderly visitors RUB THEIR...
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Quattro Canti

The Marquis of Villena, who was the Viceroy of Spain, decided in the seventeenth century, to make a square at the intersection of the streets Maqueda and Vittorio Emanuele, in fact it was initially...
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Monte Pellegrino

I didn't make it to Mt. Pelligrino, but I was given these directions to get there. Apparently the tomb of Santa Rosalia is there. Pick up bus #812 in Piazza Storza. I think the same bus for Mondello...
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Piazza Pretoria

In the square Pretoria is built a fountain, which was planned to be installed in Tuscany originally, but finally decided to bring it to Palermo in front of a cloistered convent and because the...
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Teatro Massimo

1860 saw Sicily annexed to the newly united Kingdom of Sicily. These were good times for Palermo. The city was appointed the administrative capital of the island and new investments saw economic and...
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Chiesa di San Giovanni degli Eremiti

Best views San Giovanni Degli Eremiti or Saint John of Hermits are from bell tower of neighboring church San Guiseppe Cafasso. From this bell tower you also will get views at Palazzo dei Normanni or...
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Getting to Palermo


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