Palazzo Pretorio, Palermo

Palazzo Pretorio, Palermo: Our most recommended tours and activities

Palermo: Uncover the History of the Mafia on a Guided Walk

1. Palermo: Uncover the History of the Mafia on a Guided Walk

Discover the top sights in Palermo's historic center on a guided walking tour. Learn about the history and everyday realities of the influence of the Mafia, as well as the civic movement against Mafioso power as you explore the city. Meet your guide and begin your mafia-themed adventure through the streets of Palermo. See notable sites like Teatro Massimo, the open-air market Il Capo, and Piazza Della Memoria, which serves as a memorial dedicated to prosecutors and judges killed by the mafia. Along the Cassaro, see shops and businesses with orange stickers on their windows, representing owners that have said no to paying the extortion racket and have subscribed to the ethical consumer campaign titled pago chi non paga (I pay who does not pay).  After strolling by sights like Piazza Beati Paoli, Palermo Cathedral, and the city hall, finish the tour in the heart of Palermo's old town center. Get tips from your guide on how to continue your visit and where to taste the best Sicilian specialties.

Palermo: UNESCO World Heritage Sites Guided Walking Tour

2. Palermo: UNESCO World Heritage Sites Guided Walking Tour

By choosing this small group tour, you will have the opportunity to admire the best attractions, with a tasty local break! This three hours small group tour will take you to the must-see spots of the city centre, crossing the Baroque and Normann-Arab style architecture, including attractions such as the Piazza Pretoria (Praetorian Square), called by the locals Square of Shame. The huge marble fountain you can admire in this square is amazing, and it is also the reason of the square's name, due to the nudity of its statues. The Praetorian Palace is located in this plaza, too, and it hosts the Town Hall, which is usually open to the public so that you may spot the mayor of Palermo. This impressive building was built in the 14th century, and it was renovated in the 19th century. Your cultural and historical experience will be enriched by admiring the Royal Palace, which now hosts the Regional Parliament of Sicily. After the Normans conquered Sicily in 1072, the palace was the main residence of the kings. In 1132, King Roger II added the magnificent Palatine Chapel, which is decorated with unique golden mosaics. When visiting Palermo, we cannot ignore its religious significance, so that they will be part of our small group itinerary, such as the Martorana Church, famous around the world for its beauty and majestic appearance. In fact, an Arabic traveller who visited the Martorana in 1184 called this Christian church "the most beautiful monument in the world", which perfectly resumes all we could have said about this site. One more unmissable stop will be the Cathedral of Palermo, a brilliant and unique example of stratification of styles, from Muslim to Normans to the Christian reconversion. If you are wondering if this culture discovering and walking will make you hungry, don’t worry…we will have another substantial stop included for our small group: a tasty Sicilian cannolo or granita, in a typical local shop.

Palermo: Markets and Monuments City Center Walking Tour

3. Palermo: Markets and Monuments City Center Walking Tour

Get a feel for the rich history, culture, and architecture of central Palermo on a 3-hour guided walking tour. Your guide will take you to Norman Sicily churches and beautiful palaces, through bustling city squares and famous old street markets. Head first to the Teatro Massimo and learn about Italy’s largest opera house, known for its perfect acoustics. Then visit the beautiful Palermo Cathedral, dating from the 12th century and part of Unesco ’s list of World Heritage sites. See the Church of the Gesù, one of the most important Baroque churches in Palermo, as well as the Praetorian Palace, an outstanding palace of the 15th century.   Continue to Pretoria Square, referred to by locals as the “square of shame” for the nudity of its fountain statues. You’ll also visit the nearby Bellini Square where you’ll see the Church of San Cataldo and Martorana Church, two more Norman Sicily–era churches and Unesco World Heritage sites.   Along the way, your guide will lead you through the famous Capo street markets. Observe the lively scenes and multitude of smells, textiles, and colorful foods as you weave among the stalls. You can also buy and taste some of the city’s popular street food, including: panelle, crocché, sfincione and arancina The tour ends in the exact center of historic Palermo, the Baroque Villena Square, also known as Quattro Canti (Four Corners). It was built in the early 1600s at the crossing of the two most prominent streets in Palermo: Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda.

Palermo : Must-See Attractions Walking Tour

4. Palermo : Must-See Attractions Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the timeless allure of Palermo with a private tour led by a seasoned guide, promising a captivating exploration of the city's rich history and architectural wonders. Your journey begins at the meeting point in Via Rosolino Pilo, where you'll rendezvous with your guide in front of the hotel Mediterraneo. From there, set forth on a three-hour odyssey through Palermo's enchanting streets, delving into the mesmerizing blend of Baroque and Normann-Arabic influences that define its landscape. Begin your adventure at the majestic Piazza Pretoria, where the grandeur of the fountain takes center stage amidst the bustling square. Traverse through time as you visit the historic Praetorian Palace, a symbol of Palermo's political legacy, and behold the splendor of the Royal Palace, now home to the Regional Parliament. Marvel at the intricate mosaics and Byzantine charm of Martorana Church, before venturing to the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Palermo, a testament to the city's enduring faith and architectural prowess. Along the way, savor the flavors of Sicily with a stop at a local shop to indulge in a traditional Sicilian cannolo, adding a deliciously authentic touch to your exploration.

Palermo: Private Guided Walking Tour

5. Palermo: Private Guided Walking Tour

A guided walking tour is the best way to get to know the wonderful city of Palermo, with its breathtaking monuments and its hidden corners, its winding alleys and the arab urban structure make it particularly suitable for walking. This private tour takes place in the historic center of the city, along Via Vittorio Emanuele, the oldest street in Palermo, admiring the most iconic points of interest such as Palazzo dei Normanni, the Cathedral, Bologni Square, Pretoria Square, Bellini Square, Square Sant'Anna , San Francesco d'Assisi Square and much more.

Best of Palermo Combo tour

6. Best of Palermo Combo tour

Explore the rich cultural tapestry of Palermo with this combined tour, blending the highlights of the city's architecture and history. Begin by delving into the heart of Palermo's historic center on a three-hour small group tour, marveling at Baroque and Normann-Arab style architecture. Admire iconic landmarks such as the Praetorian Square, home to the striking marble fountain and the historic Praetorian Palace. Continue your journey through Palermo's religious heritage with visits to the exterior of the Martorana Church and the awe-inspiring Cathedral of Palermo, showcasing centuries of architectural evolution. After immersing yourself in Palermo's cultural treasures, delve deeper into history with a guided tour of the Palazzo dei Normanni and its magnificent Cappella Palatina. Learn about over 800 years of Sicilian history as you explore the oldest royal residence in Europe, once the seat of Sicilian kings. Marvel at the exquisite blend of Islamic, Byzantine, and Norman influences in the Palatine Chapel, a testament to the diverse cultural exchanges of the medieval era. Your tour includes access to the palace's gardens, providing a tranquil retreat amidst the city's vibrant streets. With a total duration of 4.5 hours, this comprehensive experience offers the perfect blend of cultural immersion and historical exploration in the enchanting city of Palermo.

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What people are saying about Palazzo Pretorio, Palermo

Overall rating

4.8
(217 reviews)

This was an unexpected and fascinating look at the mafia influence in Sicily and Italy past and present. Stefano is a windfall guide, and spoke with heart about the complexity of the situation while leading through important locales in Palermo with stories and history / he’s a gifted educator. I truly recommend this tour.

Pietro was one of the most knowledgeable and engaging guides I have ever encountered. An exceptional understanding of the history, architecture, personalities and culture of Palermo, and Sicily in general. Highly recommended!

An absolute must-do activity for everyone visiting Palermo. The tour was great and Attilio a fantastic guide. We learned a lot during these 3 hours - highly recommended!

An absolute must in Palermo. The guide explained the past and present of the Mafia in Sicily to us in a very understandable way. We learned a lot from it. Simply great!

A very interesting visit! Chloé introduced us to the history of the mafia throughout the city. She gave us good advice