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Top Rated Attractions in Palermo

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Streat Palermo Tour

Relish traditional Sicilian fare by participating in a walking tour organized by Streat Palermo Tour. Not only do you walk through historic squares and pass by major tourist attractions but visitors also get the chance to stop at several bakeries and food stands to try some of the local cuisine. Besides the great food, participants also get the chance to learn about the city’s culinary heritage and how the local cuisine is influenced by Jews and Arabs. Participants also get the chance to learn more about the city’s art culture and history. If you are a foodie at heart, participate in one of the tours and tantalize your senses in the streets of the gorgeous city of Palermo.

Cattedrale di Palermo

Built around the end of the 12th Century during the Norman reign of Guglielmo II, the Cattedrale (Cathedral) is definitely one of the most important religious buildings from a historical and artistic perspective. Throughout the centuries, it underwent various additions and restorations. One of the most outstanding change is that of the Florentine architect Fuga, from the end of the 17th century, which gave the building its definite neoclassic style. Remarkable details of the exterior to admire include the 13th-century bronze door, enriched with the four symbols of the evangelists, (a lion, an angel, a bull and an eagle), the magnificent dome and the apses, a vestige of the original church. Inside, among the various and splendid chapels, it should be mentioned that some house the tombs of Norman and Suebi royalty (Ruggero II, Federico II, Costanza d'Altavilla) as well as the silver urn that contains the ashes of Saint Rosalia, the patron saint of the city.

Antonino Salinas Regional Archeological Museum

Museo Archeologico Regionale is housed within a convent belonging to the Cappucin friars. Most of the collection relates to the period of Greek dominance. Among the more interesting exhibits are the famous metope from the temples in Selinunte, a collection of Greek vases and several mosaics from patrician Roman villas. There is also a rather interesting collection of Italian ceramics from the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The permanent collection was enlarged a few years ago to include a section dedicated to the punic tombs found all over Sicily.

RISO, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea della Sicilia

Constructed towards the end of the 18th Century by Italian architect- Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia, the beautiful Sicilian-Baroque structure of Palazzo Riso is the home contemporary art was waiting for. Its beautiful ochre front stands right in front of the theatrical scenery of Bologni Square and Carlo V statue. It hosts a permanent collection of famous international artists such as Christian Boltanski and Richard Long, the Italian Emilio Isgrò and Pietro Consagra, but is also a home for nascent Sicilian talents like Laboratorio Saccardi and for remarkable temporary art exhibitions. The museum is also supplied with a book shop and an elegant coffee bar.

Bioparco di Sicilia

The Bioparco di Sicilia is a botanical garden, zoo and reptile house thirty minutes by car from center of Palermo. The biopark is spread over 60000 square meters (645834.63 square feet) and has some rare plant and animal species that are worth seeing. Llamas, meerkats and zebras are some of the animals that are housed in the park. Other attractions include the Land of Dinosaurs where patrons get the chance to see 20 life size dinosaur models. The modern zoological museum also doubles up as a conservation center where not only do patrons get a chance to view the majestic animals, but the park also conducts research and organizes educational programs for the young ones. There is also a small bar on-site from where you can buy a few drinks while the kids can call for an ice cream. Note that park timings are seasonal and subject to change. Calling ahead to confirm the same is advisable.

Teatro Massimo

This theater, Italy's largest, has undergone one of the most tumultuous constructions ever. It also claims to have the biggest stage in the world. Before its opening in 1897, the patrons had waited 20 years for the theater to open its doors, suffering through corruption and building delays. Again in 1973, it was closed for 23 years due to political in-fighting and corruption which delayed the intended restoration. Nowadays its home to some of the most spectacular theater, concert, and opera productions in the country featuring works from Verdi, Tchaikovsky, and Puccini.

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