Palermo Museums - Palermo Churches - Palermo Sicily - Palermo Cappella Palatina - Palermo Cathedral - Palermo Palazzo Normanni Palermo - travel links
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Palermo Guide Italy

Churches and Museums

Getting there
History and culture

Churches and Museums
Historical buildings and monuments
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Churches and Museums

A selection of the most representative religious buildings for Sicilian culture
  • Cappella Palatina
    The famous French writer Guy de Maupassant defined it as “the most beautiful in the world, the most surprising religious jewel ever dreamt of by man”. It is easy to share his opinion. The Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) contains a harmonious blend of opposing cultures, Byzantine, Norman, Arabic, and Sicilian, creating a truly amazing architectural and artistic result. Located in the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Cappella Palatina is home to some of the most beautiful mosaics in the world that depict famous scenes from the bible. The wooden ceiling styled into Arab-style stalactites and alveoli dating back to 1143 and the marble floor are just as wonderful.
  • Cathedral
    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.
  • Santa Maria degli Angeli
    Dating back to the fifteenth century, this is one of the oldest churches in the city. The two wonderful Gothic entrances and the wooden sculptures, paintings and stuccoes inside the church must be admired.
  • Church of San Domenico
    The church was built in Baroque style around 1640, but the façade was completed in 1726. The imposing interior of the Church of Domenico is designed around the nave and two-aisle style, and contains important works of art. The wonderful cloisters inside the church play host to the Risorgimento-period Museum.
  • Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio
    This church is named thus as it was built on the wishes of the Admiral Giorgio d'Antiochia in 1142, who then gave it to the convent of Eloisa Martorana. It is a Norman-style building, even though it is similar to the Byzantine churches, due to its square structure and the splendid mosaics kept inside, together with frescoes and Baroque marble pieces.

All the most interesting museums to visit to help us learn the traditions linked to this land.

  • International Marionettes Museum
    This extraordinary museum was founded in 1975 by the Association for the Preservation of Folk Traditions, and is an integral part of Sicilian culture. The museum contains the most complete, important collection of pupi or puppets in the world, together with the stage equipment needed for the traditional shows. The collection includes about 3500 examples of puppets, marionettes and hand puppets from all over the world, all made by hand according to the antique craftsmen’s traditional techniques.
  • Regional Archaeological Museum
    This Museum is in the old city center of Palermo, in the ex-convent of the Philippine Monks and is home to a large number of artifacts from the whole of Sicily, including the islands, and also to archaeological finds from the Etruscan, Phoenician and Greek eras. These important collections are testimony of Sicilian art, from prehistoric times to the late Roman period.
  • Museum of Islam
    This Museum, which is housed in the wonderful Castello della Zisa, holds the testimony of Arabic culture in Sicily.
  • The Sicilian Regional Gallery
    This Gallery that is inside Palazzo Abatellis, houses some paintings completed in Sicily between the 11
    th and the 17th centuries, Arabic inlaid-wood objects, Moorish pottery and some marble sculptures.

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