Visit Palermo (II)

palermo

Hey! We find ourselves in the second part with more tourist attractions and great places in Palermo! In the first part we visited the royal palace and the cathedral, Sanctuary Santa Rosalia, a sacred place in the heart of the mountain, the most beautiful and important theaters in the city, and we took a relaxing walk in the most fascinating garden!

We will continue to visit Palermo and discover incredible places!

 

Zisa Palace and Gardens

The construction was started in the 12th century by Arab masters for King William I of Sicily and completed by his son William II. The edifice was designed as the summer residence for Norman kings as part of a large hunting resort, known as Genoardo (Arabic: Jannat al-arḍ, literally “Paradise on Earth”), including Cuba Sottana, Cuba Soprana and the Uscibene palace. Zisa is inspired by Mauric architecture. The name Zisa, derived from the Arabic al-Azīz, meaning “glorious” or “splendid”.

Timetable:
  • Monday – Saturday: 09:00 – 19:00
  • Sundays and holidays: 09:00 to 13:30

Last entry 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed: January 1, December 25.

 

Tickets:

  • Full price: 6 €
  • Reduced price: € 3

More info here!

 

The Holy Trinity Chapel

Near the Zisa Palace, there is a small chapel, a jewel of Arab-Norman art. The Holy Trinity Chapel is the private chapel of the Zisa palace. The chapel was already here when the Palace was built and was converted by William II from the mosque to a Christian prayer room.

The entrance is free, and from the first floor you will have a wonderful view of the Zisa Palace. Only from here you will be able to see the relics of the aqueducts leading to the palace.

Botanical Garden

It is not just the botanical garden, but also the research and education institution of the Department of Botany of the University of Palermo. A huge, open-air museum that boasts over 200 years of activity and is responsible for the study and distribution of countless plant species in Sicily, Europe and the Mediterranean basin, many of which come from tropical and subtropical regions.

Timetable:

The botanical garden opens at 09:00 every day, except for Christmas and New Year. The closing time varies depending on the season. The last entry is half an hour before the closing time.

Tickets:

  • full price: 6,00 €
  • discount: 3,00 € (Children between 6 and 14 years – people over 70 – students <25)

More details here!

The Pretoria fountain

The fountain was built by Francesco Camilliani in Florence in 1554, but was transferred to Palermo in 1574. To transport it, the fountain was disassembled in 644 pieces. Then, to make the fountains, several buildings were demolished. However, the fountain get incomplete in Palermo.

Therefore, some adjustments were necessary. The assembly work was done by Camillo Camilliani, son of Francesco Camilliani. In 1581 he finished the work with the help of Michelangelo Naccherino.

Between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the fountain was considered a kind of representation of the corrupt city of Palermo. For this reason, and due to the nudity of the statues, the market became known as the “Piazza della Vergogna” (Shame Square). In this market you will find the S. Cataldo Church and S. Caterina Church.

The Professa House Complex

The complex consists of the Church of Jesus, the sacristy and the museum, the crypt as well as the Oratory del Sabato.

Church: Known in Palermo under the name of Casa Professa, the Church of Jesus (in Italian: Chiesa del Gesu) is one of the most important religious buildings in Sicily, a Baroque masterpiece. This church was built by Jesuits at the end of the 16th century, on the outskirts of the Jewish quarter of Palermo. The construction of the church lasted almost 50 years, and it took the involvement of hundreds of artists and artisans. Inside, you will find colorful frescoes, elaborate stone carvings and marble reliefs in an amazing décor for reflection and worship.

The sacristy: You will find here on the walls, cabinets made of walnut, worked exceptionally fine. The cupboards were built between 1621 and 1634 by the Jesuit brother Giovanni Paolo Taurino.

The Oratory of the Cross and the martyrdom of Christ or the Oratory of Sabato (Oratorio del Sabato): is an artwork characteristic of the Palermo decorative style of the 18th century. In 1740, the Oratory was adorned with stucco by Procopio Serpotta, the last descendant of a famous family of artisans in Palermo.

Museum: You can admire sculptures in wood, ceramic objects or paintings left by the Jesuits.

Crypt: In the basement of the museum, you will find the crypt, the place where the Jesuit priests were buried.

The circuit of excellence

The Excellence Circuit, in agreement with the Itiner’ars Association, aims to promote historical, artistic, cultural monuments of the old Palermo, such as:

  • The Professata House Complex
  • Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli
  • The Calenar Room in San Domenico Monastery

The circuit includes the following monuments:

  • Museum of Wine and Rural Life, Palazzo Palagonia – Palermo.
  • Palazzo Conte Federico, Piazza Conte Federico Nr 2 – Palermo
  • Palazzo Alliata Villafranca, Piazza Bologni 20 – Palermo
  • St. Joseph Cafasso Church, Via dei Benedettini 16 – Palermo
  • Torre di San Nicolo, Via Nunzio Nasi 18 – Palermo

Discover the social and cultural life of the old city, which enjoys a rich monumental and artistic heritage. If you have enough time, take your most comfortable shoes and follow this circuit. More details here.

The entrance to the San Domenico Monastery is free, but you can make a donation to rehabilitate it. Here are some pictures:

palermo

What we eat?

Sicilian food is largely the same as in the rest of Italy, but it receives Greek, Spanish, French or Arab influences. Starters (called antipasti) are an important aspect of the Sicilian cuisine. Common aperitifs include caponata and gato di patate (a kind of potato and cheese pie). Pasta has a long tradition, found in Sicily since the 12th century. Cannelloni, ricotta spaghetti (sardine pasta) and Norma pasta (a specialty from Catania) are very popular and are typically Sicilian. Being an island, fish and seafood are often used in their preparations. The main preparations are couscous of pesce and pesce spada alla ghiotta (swordfish). Sicilians are experts in swordfish cooking, so add this kind of food to your list!

Cannoli is a traditional dessert in Sicily, so you must try it. Marzipan fruits are extremely popular and you will find them every corner of the street! It is believed that marzipan fruits were invented at the Eloise Monastery at Martorana in the fourteenth century. Ice cream is extraordinarily good in Italy, and in Palermo, I ate the best ice cream at Crema & cioccolato! Here I made new friends, which I hope to see soon!

 

Drinks

In Sicily, the most consumed drink, remains like the rest of Italy, the wine. With a favorable location in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has a long history of vine cultivation, which offers a rich heritage. Here’s what wine you have to try at the tasty meals of this trip:

  • Malvasia is a sweet wine, similar to Moscato, and perfectly complements any dessert;
  • Novello is a consistent wine, and is a good wine to start a meal. It is obtained by a specific method of winemaking, which appeared in France in the 1930s;
  • Grecanico – his name is derived from the Sicilian word for Greek. A testimony to this name is the strong and bold taste of this variety; Greek wine has always been popular in Italy and has always enjoyed many international drinkers. Grecanico is served at tables all over Sicily;
  • Marsala is a pretty strong wine, with 20% volume of alcohol. Many chefs use this wine in the kitchen along with other ingredients. Some varieties are stored in wooden barrels to allow Marsala wine to reach its robust flavor. This wine is quite rare, and enjoys popularity among connoisseurs;
  • Also try CHARDONNAY, CATARRATTO BIANCO, ZIBIBBO, PRIMITIVO or NERO D’AVOLA.

Other typical Sicilian alcoholic beverages are limoncello, a lemon liqueur and Amaro Siciliano, a herbal drink that is often consumed after meals as digestive.

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