Palermo, Sicily, Italy
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Approximately 6½ Hours
Here's a very different way to get acquainted with Palermo with the intimacy and personalized nature of a smaller group. Palermo is one of the most beautiful Italian cities, renowned for its long history and colorful culture.
A short panoramic drive brings you to the Palatine Chapel. This is like taking a walk through the 12th century as you explore the Palatine Chapel's dome, the transept and the apses. This stunning church ranks among the most important in Sicily. It is a splendid example of Norman art and was consecrated in 1140. Outside, its narrow portico is supported by columns decorated with mosaics. Inside, the chapel features a floor decorated with marble mosaics. Inlaid marble covers the lower part of the walls. Above the nave is a beautiful wooden ceiling executed by Arab artisans, with a honeycomb pattern and stalactite-like decoration. All the upper walls are decorated with mosaics on a gold background.
Next, visit the beautiful Martorana Church as you walk with your guide through the alleys of the Old Town.
You'll also explore the famous local market of Sicily -- the Ballarò. Among stalls laden with brightly-colored produce lies a wealth of rich traditions and customs deeply rooted in Palermo's farm-to-table style of cuisine. Spices wake up your sense of smell, a taste of typical panella (fritters made from chickpea flour) has you puzzling over something so simple being so delicious, and the freshest of fish seem to have magically hopped out of the transparent waters and onto the market stall this very morning.
In complete contrast, step into a private home -- an opulent, discreet and refined residence in the ancient part of the city, where the descendants of the once-noble aristocracy cling to vestiges of grandeur that are both evocative and nostalgic. Walk through museum-like rooms to discover treasures and works of art from Sicily's golden age.
End your visit with a sample of fine taste treats from an authentic Palermo restaurant.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. The area surrounding the Cathedral and the Four Corners is subject to traffic restrictions, which may preclude viewing of some highlights in the Old Town.