Introduction to Palermo Tour

Your essential primer to Palermo
From US$563 privately
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Tour Details
4 hours
Product Type
  • Porta Carini
  • La Martorana
  • Palermo Cathedral
  • Palatine Chapel
  • San Cataldo Church
Photos & Highlights
  • Get acquainted with Palermo's main sites, history, and neighborhoods
  • Led by an expert in history or local culture
Tour Description
Explore Sicily's largest city on a Context half-day tour. We'll discover the charm of Palermo, a layered metropolis with centuries of Arab, Norman, Byzantine and Mediterranean influences. With a local expert, learn about the city's history, art, and architecture as we traverse a diverse range of topics from Norman religiosity to contemporary challenges affecting the city.
  • Porta Carini
  • Piazza Pretoria
  • La Martorana
  • Cathedral of Palermo
  • Cappella Palatina
  • 4 hours with a Ph.D. or MA level guide
We will begin with an introduction to Palermo’s former glory as a jewel of Arab, Norman, and Byzantine cultures in the Mediterranean near Palermo's opera house. As we stroll through Palermo’s lively and colorful streets, we will discover bustling food markets while appreciating the city’s splendid plazas, such as Piazza Pretoria. Afterward, with our expert guide, we will visit the Norman church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (also known as “La Martorana”). We will learn about the church’s historical and architectural significance, which features intricate mosaics dating back to the twelfth century. Continuing with the religious history of Palermo, we will visit the impressive Cathedral of Palermo and the Cappella Palatina. Both structures are a testament to the fusion of diverse architectural and artistic cultures that have existed throughout the centuries in Palermo. Throughout the tour, our expert guide will also emphasize contemporary issues facing Palermo today, for example, the role of the Mafia in the city. By the end of the tour, we will have familiarized ourselves with (and hopefully grown very fond of) this endlessly fascinating city.


Where do we meet? Where does it end?
We meet in front of the Teatro Massimo (Palermo's Opera House) in Piazza Verdi. Your route may differ according to your guide. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with with a map.

What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your expert will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to be prepared; we encourage keeping an eye on the weather and bringing along an umbrella, sunscreen, water, or a hat as needed.

Is this tour walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible?
We do cover quite a bit of ground on this tour and therefore we recommend contacting us with any mobility questions; we will be happy to advise if the itinerary will be appropriate for you or propose modifications where necessary. Please feel free to contact us.
Where You'll Start
21 Reviews (4.95)

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She did a very good job. She was knowledgeable and extremely personable.
Expert and excellent.
Gabriella was an expert in the history of Palermo and Sicily, enabling us to understand the role of Palermo as a crossroads for numerous civilizations, beginning with the Phoenicians and extending into the modern era. Using the layers of architectural style as guideposts, she made the history of Palermo come alive, from ancient times to the present day. Her warmth and interest in tailoring our tour to best meet our needs was the icing on the layer cake. My husband and I highly recommend Gabriella! Paula Hilby