Visit two absolute must-sees in the Sicilian capital with this guided tour of the Palazzo dei Normanni and Cappella Palatina. With more than 800 years of history, it’s perfect for culture vultures!
About this tour:
Avoid the waiting queues
- Visit the former seat of power for the rulers of Sicily
- Enjoy a 1.5 guided tour with a knowledgeable guide
- See the remains of a melting pot of eastern and western history in the Cappella Palatina
- Marvel at the Byzantine mosaics on the walls
- Be ready to visit one of the most ancient palaces in Europe
Of all the incredible attractions in Palermo, the Palazzo dei Normanni is one that you can’t miss off your itinerary. Once the seat of the King of Sicily, it is the oldest royal residence in Europe and you can learn the history of all the dynasties who had their thrones here - as well as visiting a stunning and sublime channel.
A building steeped in history
A guided tour of Palazzo dei Normanni and Cappella Palatina in Palermo is a fascinating journey through the city's rich history and cultural heritage. Palermo is decorated in history and there are few buildings that offer a window into the past quite as clear as the Palazzo dei Normanni. Led by a local guide, you will explore the magnificent palace and stunning chapel, learning about the unique blend of Norman, Arabic, and Baroque architectural styles: the Palazzo dei Normanni (or the Norman Palace to English speakers) and Palatine chapel. Construction on the palace started in the 9th century when Sicily was under Islamic rule, though it was renovated by the Normans in 1072 when their empire spread across Europe. Now, it’s the home of the Sicilian Regional assembly. You’ll get entrance into the palace and its gardens to begin an unmissable walking tour. The guide will share fascinating stories and insights into the building's history and significance as a symbol of Sicily's cultural diversity.
One of Italy’s most spectacular chapels
Though not as well known as Rome’s Sistine Chapel or Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, the Cappella Palatina (or Palatine Chapel) is one of the most spectacular in all of Italy. The chapel, on the second-floor of the palace, was built in 1140 and gives an insight into the arts, science and philosophy of the dominant Western and Middle Eastern cultures at that time.The chapel's ceiling is particularly noteworthy, featuring an elaborate composition of 18 wooden panels depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The Palatine Chapel is considered one of the most significant examples of medieval art and architecture in Europe, and a must-visit for anyone interested in Sicilian history and culture. See traditional Islamic designs, Byzantine mosaics, and golden decorations in one of the best examples of the Arab - Norman - Byzantine style. You will marvel at the intricate mosaics and decorations of the Cappella Palatina, and gain a deeper understanding of the role of religion and art in Sicilian history.
An unforgettable tour of a Palermo must-see
A guided tour of Palazzo dei Normanni and Cappella Palatina is an enriching and unforgettable experience that offers a deeper appreciation of Palermo's unique cultural heritage, a must-visit for anyone interested in Sicilian history and culture. Not only do your tickets allow you entrance to the palace and chapel, but you can have a walk in the gardens too. And as the tour is just 1.5 hours long, there’s enough time for you to appreciate the stunning historic building and then spend the rest of the day wandering through Palermo’s historic centre. Why not consider a pizza making class for the rest of your day?
Please note: Palazzo dei Normani is a government venue.
In case of official events or meetings the tour might be closed. On some days visit of the Royal Apartments will also be included.
This tour runs on rain or shine.
Meet our tour leader in Piazza del Parlamento, in Palermo, at the main entrance of Normanni Palace.
price per person