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Castles and cathedrals in Palermo and surroundings


The village of Terrasini overlooks the sea, and its oldest part is the fishermen village. Today between the streets of the village we can admire the cathedral dedicated to the patron saint the Virgin of Graces, the Palazzo d’Aumale which includes the civic museum and the Palazzo Cataldi which houses the town library.


Terrasini Cathedral


The Castle of Carini or Castle of the Baroness, dates back to the eleventh century and was built by the Normans on a previous Arab structure. This beautiful castle that dominates the village was the protagonist of the killing of Carini Baroness by her father. According to a legend on the anniversary of the murder, on the walls of the room of the woman the imprint of her bloody hand shows up.


The Castle of Castellammare, has Arab origin but was modified several times by the Normans and then by the Swabian who built the walls and added the towers. Stretching out into the sea it was used as a lookout for the raids, and then transformed into a noble residence. Today the castle rooms are home to the Museum “The Mediterranean Memory” divided into four sections: the water and the mill museum, the Museum of production activities, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Maritime activities.


The Cathedral of Palermo, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Assumption, includes the chapel of Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of the town. Its structure testifies an Arabic, Norman and then Spanish influence in the battlements, in the towers and columns.


Cathedral of Palermo photo Giovanni dall’Orto

The Norman Palace or Royal Palace now is the seat of the region of Sicily. Built by the Normans, who extended an existing Arab palace, actually includes several buildings. The remaining norman towers are the Gioaria and the Pisana, inside the Pisana we find the oldest room of the palace, the King Ruggero room.

Inside the palace there is the Palatine Chapel dedicated to St. Peter. It consists of three naves separated by granite columns. The dome is decorated with rich Byzantine mosaics of extraordinary beauty, while the wooden ceiling includes carvings and paintings in Arabic style. The crypt of the chapel houses the Treasure with numerous silver liturgical objects, parchment tabular, and vestments.

The church of St. John of the Hermits is a national monument and is a beautiful fusion of Arab and Christian architecture. The red domes on the towers in fact are similar to a mosque, as well as the columns of the cloister.


Martorana Church Palermo

The Martorana Church or Santa Maria of the Admiral is a Byzantine church and is part of the Italo-Albanian Church, in fact it follows the Byzantine rite. It’s inserted in the list of UNESCO World Heritage assets, for the architectural styles that make it unique in the world.


In Segesta you can visit the greek-Roman temple also called the Great Temple. It dates back to the fifth century B.C. and has 36 well preserved columns, though it is in Greek architecture, many special elements are still under investigation.

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