Soaring high above the terracotta rooftops of Palermo’s centro storico, the city’s 12th-century cathedral is surely one of the most remarkable buildings on the island. The enormous structure is perhaps best noted for its wide range of architectural styles – a fact that somewhat explains the mesmerising exterior of domes, towers and battlements.
Way back in 1185, Walter Ophamil dreamt up a rather more modest temple, of which few features remain today. Many modifications followed in the oncoming centuries, with the Renaissance, Gothic and baroque periods all playing a role in shaping the building’s architecture. Much of what is seen today stemmed from Ferdinando Fuga’s dramatic remodelling, including the majestic dome that juts from the base of the cathedral. The cathedral is today open for visits, and boasts an interior perhaps even more spectacular than the dramatic facade, with bright frescoes and glorious lighting, as well as access to the rooftops for impressive views.
Opening hours: Public areas open on weekdays from 7am – 7pm, on holidays from 8am – 1pm and 4pm - 7pm (closed during mass). Monumental areas (treasury, vault, royal tombs and roofs) are open on weekdays from 9am - 5.30pm and on holidays from 10am - 12.30pm, for the royal tombs only.
Price: €12 per adult / €7 per youth aged 11 – 17 for access to the entire site. Tickets cost less for selected features (treasury, vault, royal tombs and crypt).
*Prices and opening hours may be subject to change.