Excursions to Palermo and Monreale
The city of Palermo is one of the most famous destinations not only in Italy, but in Europe and in the world. It is a city where history and modernity go hand in hand, giving visitors everything they are looking for during a holiday. The best way to visit this beautiful city in a simple, comfortable and fast way is with a Palermo excursion in which to visit Monreale as well.
The whole Palermo area preserves the remains of human presence since the Palaeolithic times, showing its antiquity and presaging the richness of its history.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians, giving it the name of Zyz and making it an important commercial and logistic center. Subsequently followed by the Greeks, the Romans, who gave it the name of Panormus, the Byzantines, the Muslims, the Normans, the Swabians, the French and the Spaniards. Each of these populations contributed to the creation of the social and urban fabric of the city, giving an overall air to Palermo since its creation.
Despite the troubled history of the mafia that the city has suffered from, it has always known how to defend and redeem itself, offering its visitors a magnificent combination of architectural and ornamental styles created over the centuries. Walking through the streets of the historic center, you will immerse yourself in a journey through time and between the places and cultures of the world.
It also offers a wide choice of places surrounded by nature, from beaches to mountains, in which to take refuge and relax in the shade of mighty ficus.
Another must-see destination during a visit to Palermo is Monreale, whose cathedral is one of the places of interest of " Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale ", declaring it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.
Itinerary Excursions to Palermo and Monreale
During our excursion we will divide the itinerary as follows:
- Departure from Piazza Francesco Pizzo in Marsala at 9:00 am
- Departure from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele in Trapani at 9:30
Based on your needs, you can decide which of the two cities to leave from.
- Expected arrival in Monreale at 11:00 am
- Visit to the Cathedral
- Departure towards the historic center of Palermo
- Expected arrival at 12:00 pm
- Independent visit of Palermo for about 3 hours
- Expected return to Trapani at 4:30 pm
- Expected return to Marsala at 5:00pm
Fees, guides, meals and drinks are not included in the price
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What to see in Palermo
Among the main attractions to see, we recommend the Ballarò Market, one of the most authentic markets in Palermo. Here you can discover stalls of all kinds, offering fruit and vegetables, fish, meat and objects for the home. But the real beauty are the street vendors, who fill the market with songs and shouting worthy of a true Sicilian market.
The Cathedral of Palermo deserves all your attention. Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, it will take you to a bygone era thanks to its splendor and the mixing of many different styles. You could also choose to climb up to the terrace and enjoy a magnificent view over the entire historic center.
As you proceed, you could make a stop at Villa Bonanno, where you can take refuge immersed in nature, and then arrive at the Palazzo Dei Normanni and Capella Palatina, with the mosaics of the chapel covered in a layer of gold and the Arab-style floor. An amazing combination.
Do not miss the Piazza Quattro Canti, a place where Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda, the two main streets of the historic center join. The peculiarity of this intersection are the four symmetrical facades that compose it, also called " Teatro del Sole ", as they are individually lit up during the day. It is also from here that the four historic districts of the city branch off: Albergheria, Capo, Kalsa and La Loggia.
Continuing from this intersection you can reach the Fontana Pretoria, which was named by the Palermitans the " fountain of shame ", but not for the nudes as one would assume, but for the cost of its purchase!
Finally, we recommend a visit to the mighty Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in Europe, ranking after the Opéra National in Paris and the Staatsoper in Vienna
What is the best time to go to Palermo?
Many believe that the best time to visit Sicily is in summer, during the months of July and August, but contrary to expectations, we can tell you that the best months to visit Sicilian cities and especially for an excursion to Palermo, are May, June, September and October, as the temperatures are not excessively high, allowing you to experience the city without the scorching sun and offering the opportunity to take a nice swim in the sea.
In spring, especially in May and early June, the temperatures are high, the days get longer and it rarely rains, making it the perfect time to visit Palermo in all its beauty. You can also enjoy a summer holiday but with low season prices, both for accommodation and for flights.
In the months of September and October, when the temperatures are a little cooler and the streets less busy, you can take the opportunity to spend unforgettable days, experiencing a dream vacation. The beaches are empty and the streets are quieter.
What to eat in Palermo
Palermo cuisine will surprise you, becoming love at first bite!
Among the delicacies, we advise you to taste an excellent arancina, in particular the one "al burro", made with butter, ham and mozzarella. Another classic street food is Pane, Panelle and Crocchè, a sandwich filled with artisanal potato croquettes and panelle, squares of fried chickpea flour. We also recommend the Anelletti a Forno, a very bizarre type of pasta, as there is no real recipe. This started out as a fairly poor meal, made with what a family had in the fridge, like sauce, peas, cured meats, or some cheese. That’s why there is no single recipe, every family has its own!
But the undisputed winners of Palermo cuisine are the Stigghiole, prepared with the intestines of lamb, sheep and small goat wrapped around onion stalks and parsley, " u Pani ca Mìevusa ", bread stuffed with boiled veal spleen and lung and then passed in a deep fryer and finally the king, the Sfincione, a kind of pizza with a very soft dough characterized not only by its fantastic flavour, but also by its thickness of at least 3/4 centimeters.
The beauty of Monreale
It is said that the history of Monreale is based on a legend, according to which William I, after a tiring hunting expedition, fell into a deep sleep under a carob tree. During his sleep the Madonna appeared to him, telling him about a hidden treasure and showed him where to find it, with the promise of building a church in her name, called Santa Maria Nuova . And so it was that, together with the church, one of the first multiethnic societies was born, characterized in a particular way by Arabs, Byzantines, Normans and Spaniards. The church today is considered one of the most important medieval churches in the world.
Next to the cathedral there is the Cloister of the Benedictines, a square-plan monastery characterized by marvelous coupled columns, some of which in Arabian style. We also recommend that you visit the Apses, the magical mosaic workshop.
This and much more awaits you during your Palermo excursion and Monreale!
The excursion to Palermo and Monreale has a cost starting from 300,00 €
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