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Palermo Sights and Landmarks Guide, Italy

The capital of the Italian province of Sicily, Palermo is easily accessible via ferry through ports such as Naples and Genoa, and also through other means such as air and rail.

Palermo Cathedral is an architectural and artistic delight, as is the marble inlaid Gesu Church, which features some of the most decorative and distinctive styles of Baroque architecture in Sicily. Monreale Cathedral in the suburb of Monreale features marvelous mosaics, and the suburb itself offers breathtaking views of the sea. Probably the most popular -- not to mention eerie -- tourist destination in Palermo are the famous catacombs, the Catacombe dei Cappuccini. The catacombs contain over eight thousand mummified remains of human beings, in varying stages of preservation. While there is no age restriction on entry, you should probably think twice before taking young children in to see the gloomy sights. Another famous church, albeit in ruins, is the San Giovanni degli Eremiti. Its attractions include the ruins themselves, as well as a very picturesque and tranquil garden.

Roadside markets are popular in Palermo, especially the ones near Piazza del Carmine, where you can get great deals on local items and souvenirs. Eating out can provide many opportunities to taste Sicilian cuisine. One of the best restaurants is Al Chioschetto, where you can get excellent panini made from scratch. Another wonderful restaurant is Antica Focacceria S. Francesco outside the S. Francesco Church, which has an atmospheric open air dining space with every Sicilian specialty you can think of. It serves full course meals as well as take outs. There aren’t too many well known watering holes in Palermo, but the Isola Saporita is generally agreed upon as one of the best in the city, featuring a fine variety of wines. The Mondello area has a wonderful beach and some great bars and clubs, and many of the finest restaurants are in Sferracavallo.

It is very easy to explore the city center on foot or by purchasing a day ticket on a bus, so there is little need to rent a car while on holiday in Palermo. Car theft is a common crime in the city, so if you do rent a car, be careful where you park it. Palermo is also the ideal base to explore other parts of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands, such as Syracuse, Catania and Messina. Palermo is well connected to these and other places by rail, bus and air. 

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