The largest province in Sicily and the capital of the island, the layout of Palermo is based on urban planning from the Middle Ages and is an easy place to get lost. Arab architectural influence from the Middle Ages is evident throughout the city including the Abbey Church of St. John of the Hermits and the town of Monreale which overlooks Palermo's valley. The adjacent town of Monreale, meaning "Royal Mountain", is a highlight of our tour. Our tour guide will acquaint you with the geography, customs, history and culture of this 2,700 year old city.
One of the most fascinating monuments in the city is the Abbey Church of St. John of the Hermits which was first created as a monastery in 6 AD. It was later transformed into a mosque and is currently a church with six magnificent red domes signifying the changes in power in the area. Our tour guide will share the complicated history of this city and give some insight into its influence on modern society. We will stop at the Cappuccini Catacombs which has approximately 8,000 mummified or embalmed bodies of well off Palermitans who were buried there until 1881 when the tradition was abolished. In July of each year, the biggest social event of the year is celebrated: The Feast of St. Rosalia, the patron saint of Palermo. Also on our itinerary is a visit to the adjacent town of Monreale. Its cathedral and cloister represent the largest concentration of Norman, Arab and Byzantine art in one place. Our tour would not be compelte without a visit to the town of Bagheria which shows off gorgeous villas built by Palermo nobility in the 1700s.