Is Palermo a ‘Highlight’ for Most Visitors to Sicily?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Jan 10, 2013 1:50 PM Last Post By: lucapal
Dec 1, 2012 2:03 AM
I read through 3 different travel sources and I got really mixed reviews on Palermo. They all write that Palermo has a lot of monuments, but 1 guide calls it ‘beautiful’, the other ‘dirty and unpleasant’ and the 3rd one ‘somewhere in the middle’. Honestly, I have no idea, so I am seeking input. Is Palermo among Italy’s most beautiful urban centers like Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena and Torino or is Palermo not really a highlight for most visitors to this large island? I do know most visitors absolutely love Stromboli island, amazing archeological sites at Agrigento, Syracuse and Taormina, beach destinations like Taormina, Cefalu and San Vito Lo Capo and otherwise Mount Etna, but again, what’s visitors’ overall take on Palermo and spending time there?
Dec 1, 2012 2:17 AM
Is Palermo among Italy’s most beautiful urban centers like Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena and Torino
In my opinion, it is.
The monuments are fantastic - The Cathedral and The Palazzo dei Normanni with the Cappella Palatina. Some central streets were closed to cars on Saturday evening, there were candles along the middle of the streets and there were mini concerts with classical music and puppeteer shows happening. A fairy tale world!
A must see!
Dec 1, 2012 3:16 AM
2"Is Palermo among Italy’s most beautiful urban centers like Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena"
There are some differencies between Palermo and the above mentioned places:
Whereas Rome/Venice/Florence/Siena are full of foreign tourists who don't really know why they are there, Palermo is visited by people who are really interested in Sicilian History, Art and culture.
Only at Palermo, you find a mixture of impressive Arab, Norman and Bizantine art and architecure.
The monuments are phantastic (as Stanito told you); so are the Palermitani.
Palermo is furthermore an excellent transport hub for day and half day trips to Monreale, Cefalu, Agrigento, Segesta .....
I'm sure that Luca, who lives at PA will tell you more.
Dec 1, 2012 3:37 AM
Dec 1, 2012 3:42 AM
4A lot of monuments...yes.By any standards.
Dirty? yes,by most standards.Rubbish collection is not great,many people drop their litter on the floor and the council has no money to clean anything...they have money to pay themselves a high salary,but that's another story.
Beautiful...if you can see past the rubbish,yes! Great architecture,great markets (and food in general).A bit lacking in green spaces,but there are some parks etc.Some parts are traffic-choked and noisy (still,that's the same in Rome,Florence etc...)...but there are plenty of small streets where you can walk without risking your life too much ;-)
If you are interested in the mixture of art that necker mentions above its a beautiful place to walk around.
Also,as mentioned above,it is a good base for the smaller towns and cities around.......
Dec 1, 2012 10:41 AM
5I fully agree with what has been written above but i also think about other things than plain 'beauty' when i am asked to comment how i experienced Palermo.
In a very special way i found Palermo to be an interesting, intriguing, and very much a unique city. There are some not so beautiful parts and there is some rubbish, but how can one not be impressed by its lively markets to give just one example.
I have very strong visible memories of Palermo, and it most certainly shouldn't be missed on a trip in Sicily.
Some parts are traffic-choked and noisy (still,that's the same in Rome,Florence etc...)
Luca, I have driven in Rome, Milan, Florence, (never been to Naples yet)... We have only driven out of Palermo, but i will never forget and i can't compare how we were surrounded by hundreds of motorcycles ;-) but i agree that Palermo wasn't more noisy compared to other major Italian cities.
Dec 1, 2012 12:37 PM
6It is quite an experience driving here...also in Naples ;-)
Yes,we use scooters and motobikes a lot..maybe the hotter and sunnier weather,or the lack of parking spaces!
Dec 1, 2012 10:53 PM
71 guide calls it ‘beautiful’, the other ‘dirty and unpleasant’ and the 3rd one ‘somewhere in the middle’
DIfferent parts of a city can be different things. But I found it quite memorable, especially the Capella Palatina, the cathedral in Monreale (45 mins. by local bus), and the Galleria Regionale, featuring some nifty paintings (including a couple of the ugliest depictions of the Virgin Mary ever put to canvas, and one of the most beautiful of Mary Magdalene. Also, there's Death riding around the countryside on his horse in a huge fresco--almost as scary as those Virgin Mary paintings). Plus there was that memorable chicken walking down the street across from the Galleria, as I never tire of reminding Luca, but there's no saying she'll still be there when you get there.
Oh, and the churches in Piazza Bellini (is it one or two that are being renovated, Luca?) and the restaurant there with nice views of them. A-and St. John of the Hermits! In fact the only slightly disappointing sight was the archeology museum.
Palermo also gets kudos for having a smaller than usual "radius of seediness" around the train station.
I was only there once--a few years ago and only for a few days. All the things I've mentioned have still really stuck with me.
Dec 1, 2012 11:39 PM
8Craig...the Martorana is still being restored,but you can go inside...the scaffolding spoils the views a bit of course.
San Cataldo next door is open as normal...it is quite an extraordinary building as you know.Arab-Norman outside with Byzantine features inside! It was used as a post office for many years until its restoration......
Agree with you that the archaeological museum is not great.There are several new museums though...and the Palazzina Cinese is now being fully reopened to the public,along with the Museo Pitre next door.
Jan 10, 2013 1:40 PM
Jan 10, 2013 1:50 PM
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