A Brief History of Palermo: Discover the Top Things to Do and See

All you need to know.

March 24, 2022

Are you wanting to plan a trip to Palermo? If so, you have great taste. It is a great city with a unique and fascinating past. Because of its rich history, it is best to do a good bit of research before going on your trip.

Read on to discover the top things to do and see in this wonderfully unique city.

The History

Before stepping foot into the city of Palermo, it is critical to understand the history that preceded it and the rest of Sicily. Sicily is famously known as one of the most conquered countries in the entire world. Throughout the years, Palermo was governed by several different powers ranging from the Romans to the Spanish, causing the culture to constantly shift.

The ever-changing city has a deep history, full of fascinating architecture and cultural developments coupled with gorgeous mountains and breathtaking coastlines.

Planning a Trip to Palermo?

If you are planning a trip to Palermo, you probably quickly found yourself overwhelmed with trying to determine the sights to see and things to do once you get there. You are not alone. Because of its rich history, there are plenty of truly fascinating things to see and do. So without any further adieu, here is a list to get you started.

Capuchin Abbey and Catacombs

The Capuchin line of Friars began in the 1500s and they now all rest in the Catacombs of Abbey that was dedicated to them. While it may not look like much on the outside, the catacombs where Capuchin monks kept and preserved the Friar’s bodies are truly incredible.

Palermo Cathedral

The Palermo Cathedral has an absolutely breathtaking exterior. Its unique compilation of architectural styles makes it truly a sight like nothing else. Once you have taken the time to enjoy the outside, head inside to visit the tombs of significant royal figures. After that, make your way to the roof to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city.


Cefalu is an absolutely gorgeous town about an hour away from Palermo. Here you can find stunning seaside views with colorful villas. Whether you want to walk around in Old Town, go for a swim, or hike the rock that overlooks the city, it is well worth the trek.

The Palatine Chapel

The Palatine Chapel, or Capella Palatina, can be found in the very heart of Palermo. Here you will find well-preserved architecture from the Byzantine era that will make you feel like you have traveled back in time. Initially constructed in the early 1100s, this artistic piece of history is chock full of beautiful detail, color, and grandiose images.

La Martorana

Similar to the Palatine Chapel, the Martorana, or Cathedral of St. Mary of the Admiral, also is a great example of the creativity and ingenuity of Sicilian architects. Like most structures in Palermo, there is a strange amalgamation of styles intertwining to make up this magnificent structure. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the ceiling the moment you enter this beloved building.

The Palermo Botanical Garden

While there are plenty of gorgeous structures to see, don’t forget to spend some time outside. On a nice day, make your way over to the Palermo Botanical Garden for a fragrant and peaceful walk through a garden full of exotic plants, fruit trees, and a giant ficus.

Monte Pellegrino

When you enter Palermo, you will notice a gorgeous mountain just off the shore overlooking the waters and the city. This is known as Mont Pellegrino. Locals and tourists alike love coming here to hike, picnic, or simply enjoy the gorgeous Mediterranean views. Being just nine miles away from the city, this is a must for any trip to Palermo.

Travel Tip - Store Your Luggage

Traveling anywhere can be difficult at times, but especially to a place like Palermo, where there is so much to do and so little time to do it. The most important thing you can do is make the most out of both of your travel days. To do this, you need to store your luggage. Utilizing the facility for luggage storage in Palermo will allow you to drop your bags and begin exploring the moment you arrive.

There is no need to waste time going to your room to check in. Just get right to the sightseeing. The same thing goes for your last day. After you check out of your room, drop your bags off in storage, and go get a few last-minute sights in before it's time to board your plane.

The Takeaway

Palermo is a gorgeous city with a fascinating history that has molded it into one of the most unique places to visit. Understanding the history of it all will make each of these amazing places all the more interesting to see. So, plan your trip, store your bags, and enjoy the beautiful city of Palermo, Sicily.