Cathedral of Palermo useful information for the visit

Architectural masterpiece

The Cathedral of Palermo is one of the most magnificent architectural works of Palermo: let yourself be fascinated by its extraordinary unique union of various styles.

Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 490, 90134 Palermo PA, Italia

Phone: +39 091 334373
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Cathedral of Palermo

The Cathedral of Palermo, also known as the Metropolitan Primatial Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Mary of the Assumption, is one of the most distinctive symbols of the city: visiting it is equivalent to browsing a volume of history of Sicily. Being the main place of worship in the context of Palermo, it has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Its eclectic blend of styles, embracing elements of Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, Catalan and Gothic art, comes directly from the presence of multiple communities that have alternated in Sicily through the centuries. The predominant style of the twelfth century, Norman matrix, merges with the changes and additions made in the eighteenth century, contributing to the current appearance of the church.

This cathedral is a majestic building that will surely win you over for the particular harmony of the different styles, the elegance of its richly ornate facade and its intricate millennial history. It should also be noted that for most of the year, this architectural marvel stands against an extraordinarily blue sky, adding an extra touch of magic to the experience.

History of the cathedral

The citizens of Palermo built their first cathedral already in the fourth century AD, in response to the edict of tolerance promulgated by Constantine. Unfortunately, nothing remains of that first structure, as it was devastated by the Vandals.

A new temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary was consecrated in 604 and later underwent changes by the Muslims who in 831 transformed it into a mosque. However, with the Norman conquest of Palermo in 1072, the mosque was returned to Christian worship.

A new cathedral, commissioned by Archbishop Gualtiero Offamilio, was completed in 1185 and represents the initial nucleus of the present cathedral.

The current appearance of the cathedral is the result of countless additions, modifications and renovations over the centuries. Significant structural interventions were carried out during the restoration started in 1781, following the project of Ferdinando Fuga and at the behest of the Bourbon King Charles III.

Visit to the Cathedral of Palermo

The Cathedral of Palermo is one of the essential places to visit for those who are on holiday in the Sicilian city. You can spend hours admiring the artistic and historical riches that abound both inside and outside the cathedral.

The Archdiocese of Palermo offers three thematic itineraries for those wishing to visit the cathedral, each of which provides an interpretation of the complex stories and architecture of this monument of extraordinary importance:

Gualteriana Cathedral

This route will guide you to discover the origins of the cathedral, with spaces that can be traced back to the temple wanted and built by Archbishop Gualtiero “Offamilio”. One of these spaces is the impressive trussed roof of the Norman cathedral.

From the Normans to Frederick II

Visiting both the interior and the exterior of the cathedral, you can look for evidence of Norman domination and the Federician period.

Santa Rosalia and the Cathedral of Palermo

This itinerary is dedicated to the patron saint of Palermo, Santa Rosalia. In the cathedral, you can look for evidence of devotion to this saint, know her history, the miracle of the plague and the feast dedicated to her held in July.

The outside

A walk along the exterior of the Cathedral of Palermo will allow you to admire the architectural and decorative interventions from 1170 until today. The itinerary starts from the eastern facade, made up of the structures of the crypts, and proceeds with the southern facade, where you can admire the sumptuous portico built in the first half of the fifteenth century by the master of the Duomo factory Antonio Gambara.

The inside

The interior of the Cathedral of Palermo, as it is today, is the result of the transformation works carried out between 1781 and 1801. The wide nave is flanked by two side naves, inside which there are numerous chapels, including the Chapel of the Royal Tombs and the Chapel of Santa Rosalia.

Evening tours

A fascinating experience consists in the evening visit of the roofs of the cathedral, offering the opportunity to discover the artistic and architectural elements of the external walls of the monument and to enjoy a panoramic view of Palermo.

The tombs of kings

One of the most fascinating aspects for visitors is the opportunity to admire the tombs of the Sicilian rulers inside the cathedral. These include the illustrious Emperor Frederick II and other royal members.


Inside the cathedral there are works of art of exceptional historical and artistic value, including the Altar of the Crucifix, the stoups of the nave, the Baptismal Font, the Madonna Libera Inferni, the seventeenth-century Ciborium and much more.

These itineraries and artistic treasures make the Cathedral of Palermo a place of great interest for all visitors looking for historical and artistic beauty during their experience in this fascinating city.
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Entrance tickets to the Cathedral of Palermo

Access to the Cathedral is free, but a ticket is required to enter the monumental area, which includes the premises of the treasure and the crypt, the area of the royal tombs and the roofs.

To explore the monumental area, you can choose between different ticket types at different prices, allowing access to the entire area or only to specific parts.

Circuit of sacred art

The Cathedral of Palermo is an integral part of the circuit of the sacred art of the territory of Palermo, an agreement that allows visitors holding a ticket of one of the participating places to benefit from a discount in the purchase of the ticket for other monuments.

The monuments participating in this circuit, in addition to the Cathedral of Palermo, are:

Diocesan Museum of Palermo

Church of Santa Maria della Catena

Oratory of San Lorenzo

Oratory of the Rosary in Santa Cita with the Oratory of the Rosary in San Domenico

Church of San Cataldo

Diocesan Museum of Monreale

Further information is available.

Where is Palermo Cathedral?

La Cattedrale di Palermo si trova nel cuore del centro storico di Palermo, una zona molto visitata dai turisti. È circondato da via Vittorio Emanuele, via Matteo Bonello, via dell’Incoronazione e via Simone di Bologna.

I mezzi pubblici che offrono accesso alla zona circostante la cattedrale sono:
– Autobus 104
– Autobus 110

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Last updated on: 14/12/2023 10:29:12