The 2,700 year old city of Palermo is the capital of Sicily, an autonomous region of Italy. Located in the northwest of the island in a region the locals call ‘The Golden Valley’, Palermo is a stunning, sun-drenched city that faces the Tyrrhenian Sea and backs up against Mount Pellegrino. It’s an ancient city, but by no means a sleepy one – there are over one million residents living within the city limits.
The town has a complex history, occupied and influenced by many cultures over time including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs, French and Spanish. This eclectic history is evident in the local architecture. Any route through the city will take you past domed churches, Gothic palaces, Baroque cathedrals and Arabian mansions, all of which are completely breathtaking.
The town was once covered in citrus groves. While the groves have given way to streets and buildings over generations, the world famous Palermo citrus can still be found in the many local markets and incorporated into many dishes in the local restaurants and cafés.
Cruises to Palermo dock at Stazione Marittima, a purpose-built port facility in the centre of Palermo. The port is located near the Borgo Vecchio precinct, an area known for its lively mix of restaurants, markets, and street vendors.
Stazione Marittima is a small but functional cruise terminal that was first constructed in 1950. The port is currently being upgraded to improve the amenities; however, it remains functional and comfortable during this time.
- Air-conditioned terminal building with lounges
- Onsite café
- Convenience store
- Onsite bank and ATM
- Money transfer office
- Visitor Information Centre
- Internet connection
- Luggage storage
- Free shuttle services.
How To Get Around
As the ancient city had a rather small footprint, is it quite easy to travel to all the major sites of Palermo on foot. While the streets are winding, many travellers can easily navigate the city with the help of a tourist map. For a more romantic travel option, horse and cart remains a popular transport option in Palermo, and can be booked from just outside the cruise terminal. There are also a number of traditional taxi services throughout the city.
Travel times from the port:
- It is a 21 minute journey to Piazza Pretoria.
- It is a 7 minute journey to Piazza Pretoria
- It is a 27 minute journey to Aeroporto di Palermo-Boccadifalco (Palermo’s domestic airport)
- It is a 37 minute journey to Aeroporto di Palermo Falcone e Borsellino (Palermo’s international airport)
- It is a 33 minute journey to Cattedrale di Monreale.
- Currency - The currency in Palermo is the euro (€). Coins come in 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, €1, and €2 denominations. Notes come in €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 denominations.
- Time Zone - Palermo uses Central European Time (CET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight savings is in effect between March and October. Palermo is two hours ahead of UTC during this time.
- Weather - Palermo has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Palermo is warmest in August with an average high temperature of 28.8 degrees Celsius and coolest in February with an average low temperature of 10.1 degrees Celsius.
- Piazza Pretoria - Surrounded by stunning churches, palaces and the Palazzo Pretorio (Municipal Hall), Piazza Pretoria is a popular piazza destination for many travellers. In the centre of the square sits Fontana Pretoria, an ornate fountain consisting of a number of cascading tiered basins surrounded by impressive sculptures of nymphs and gods. The fountain is locally known as the Fountain of Shame as the nude sculptures were a source of shame and embarrassment for the 16th century churchgoers who had to pass the fountains on their way to mass.
- Catacombe dei Cappuccini - A macabre but popular tourist destination on the outskirts of Palermo, the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo hold the mummified remains of over 8,000 people. The catacombs were originally established as the final resting place for friars of the Capuchin order; however, it soon became a popular burial place and many wealthy and prominent Sicilians chose to be interred there. With many corpses in display in their original burial clothes, the catacombs are a morbid but fascinating destination.
- Cattedrale di Monreale - Located in the township of Monreale 15 kilometres south of Palermo, Cattedrale di Monreale is an ancient cathedral that is often considered the greatest example of Norman architecture in the world. A richly decorated interior full of bronze doors, carved marble, intricate reliefs, stunning portraits and elaborate mosaics contrasts the cathedral’s simple exterior.