The Cathedral and the Royal Palace

The Cathedral and the Royal Palace

This walk is perfect for those who want to know more about Palermo (and the origins of the Mafia).

This second of our walking tours will get you more into the Norman history of the city, with the visit of the cathedral and the origin of the Mafia.

For this private guided walk with a licensed professional local guide we will meet you up at the Quattro Canti. The Quattro Canti (Four Corners) is a square that is the very centre of the city with its four fountains, four viceroys, and four patron saints; it was laid out on the orders of the viceroys between 1608 and 1620. One of the four corners of the square is part of the Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini, considered one of the most outstanding examples of the Sicilian Baroque in Palermo, built at the beginning of the 17th century.

After walking up Via Vittorio Emanuele, full with historical buildings once inhabited by the nobles, we reach the astonishing Palermo Cathedral, erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and King William II's minister, on the area of an earlier Byzantine basilica. In this cathedral, synthesis of history and art of the last millennium in Sicily, in addition to the Norman kings were also crowned Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy and Carlo III of Bourbon.

The last site of our walk is possibly the most important: the Royal Palace or Normans Palace, nowadays the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. After the Normans had conquered Sicily in 1072 the palace, previously built by the Arabs, was chosen as the main residence of the kings. In 1132 King Roger II added the famous Palatine Chapel, whose golden mosaics are unique for their subtle modulations of colour and luminance.

Then we make way to the Capo open-air marketplace, but firstly we encounter the Beati Paoli... or better the street and square named after them! Beati Paoli is the name of a secret sect thought to have existed in Sicily in Medieval times. And probably the Mafia originated from them... if you want to know more about the modern Mafia have a look at the The Vucciria Street Market and the Mafia walk.

Each open-air marketplace in Palermo keeps its own characteristics, colours and smells; they are all so different from any other Western market (though similar to the souks of the North African and Middle-Eastern cities) that visiting all of them is a worthwhile experience! The exit of the Capo market is Porta Carini, one of the ancient gates of Palermo, but before leaving why not to taste some street food, for which Palermo is famous worldwide?

Turning right, we head on to our last city beauty for this walk: Teatro Massimo. It is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in Europe, though when it was built was the largest in the world!

At the end of the walk, being lunchtime, we may suggest you a lovely restaurant or where to enjoy some delicious street food: any walk had better end up with some tasty Sicilian dishes!

Why touring with Palermo Walks? We only offer quality!
Palermo Walks has been awarded the patronages of the Sicilian Parliament and of the City of Palermo, we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can always talk to one of our managers. Our style is based on storytelling, our unique way of sharing with you the history and stories of people, art, culture, food, traditions. Book your walk now to enjoy the best of Palermo!



  • 9:30 Quattro Canti
  • 9:45 Palermo Cathedral
  • 10:45 Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel
  • 11:45 Piazza Beati Paoli
  • 12:00 Capo open-air marketplace
  • 12:10 Teatro Massimo (outside view)
  • 12:30 End of the walk or we may take you to a restaurant​
  • Booking Box

    Your experience starting from €26,00
    Number of People:
    * Date:

    Customise your Experience

  • Options

    • Customisation: if you prefer a shorter or a longer walk, adding or removing some points of interest, and/or if you require different hours, please contact us.
    • For a guide speaking a language different from English or Italian please contact us.
    • For pick-up and drop-off, by car or minivan, please contact us.
  • Specifications

    • Frequency: daily (except Christmas Day and New Year's Day).
    • Departure: 9:30 from the Quattro Canti if your hotel or b&b is outside Palermo's city centre and you need transportation please contact us.
    • Duration: 3 hours.
    • Number of participants: 1-8, for more people please contact us.
    • Type of walk: private.
    • Location: Palermo's city centre.
    • Modality: on foot.
    • Dress code: no shorts and no sleeveless garment as not allowed in religious sites; it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes.
    • Rates: 1-2 people €169, 3-5 people €189, 6-8 people €209
    • Entry tickets: not included.