Arab-Norman Palermo tour

Guided tour of Palermo: Arab-Norman itinerary

This guided walking tour will allow you to admire and appreciate some of the most beautiful monuments of the Arab-Norman itinerary of Palermo, which was recognized as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2015.

The guided tour of the Arab-Norman route is, in fact, dedicated to the wonderful testimonies left by the Norman rulers of the Altavilla dynasty; a golden period in the history of Palermo and all of Sicily that culminated in real masterpieces of high and unique artistic value. After about two centuries under the rule of the Arabs, the Normans conquered much of the island, reaching Palermo. The Norman conquest brought the island back into the orbit of Christian religion and Western culture but the Norman kings succeeded in merging the different cultures they found in the territory, from the Islamic world to Byzantium to the West.

We’ll trace the splendid history of the Norman kings who ruled from 1130 allowing a peaceful coexistence of different cultures, languages and religions. Thanks to the Arab-Norman itinerary of Palermo, I will lead you to the discovery of Saint John of the Hermits whose charm of volumes and red domes captures anyone who visits it making this place one of the symbols of Palermo. You will be won over by the rare beauty of the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (Martorana), an architectural jewel that integrates the Byzantine shining language of mosaics in the original body, with the developments of the following centuries. The church of San Cataldo and the great harmony of oriental taste that comes from the perfect combination of volumes.

You will be surprised by the extraordinary coexistence of Latin and Byzantine architectural elements present in the Palatine Chapel, gem of the Royal Palace. Its wonderful muqarnas ceiling by Arab craftsmen will leave you breathless, while the sparkling mosaic decoration will dazzle you. You will be captivated by the grandeur and long history of the Cathedral, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Assumption. This Eclectic and fascinating building has, more than any other, undergone major changes throughout the centuries.

Lunch break: many options, the market of “Ballarò” or the many places in the center perfect to enjoy our typical local dishes.

Meeting point

Piazza Bellini

Tour itinerary

Churches of San Cataldo and "Martorana", the Cathedral, Palatine Chapel, Saint John of the Hermits.

Tour duration

5 hours

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