See How The Other Half Lived: Three Palaces To Tour in Palermo
Posted on October 17, 2012 by sguese
The layers of Palermo’s history tend to bring visitors to the chaotic Sicilian capital. Conquered by the Phoenicians, Arabs and the Spanish, the city is a testament to those cultures and the breadcrumbs that they left behind. Palermo is the sort of place where you will see rich Byzantine mosaics, baroque buildings and Arabian food delights. It is a place unlike any other. It is a treasure trove of palaces, castles and churches. In particular, the palaces of Palermo are enough to convince the skeptics that this city is not all about organized crime and traffic. Grab your car hire in Palermo and discover all the pizzazz and pretty throughout these three main palaces.
Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri
Many visitors overlook Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri, but it shouldn’t be missed. This palace was built in 1307 as a home and fortress for the powerful Chiaramonte family. The last of the Chiaramonte descendants Manfredi Chiaramonte commissioned the grand Hall of the Barons. The hall adorns with a wooden ceiling with over 200 square meters of richly decorated beams. The scenes are often called a medieval encyclopedia in one space.
Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri also lends visitors some pieces to Palermo’s history. The Spanish Inquisition set up shop here in 1601. On the ground floor, you can see the Philippine Prisons. In these dark cells those merely suspected of dubious crimes against the church would wait here for torture or even death. The palace is also home to the famous La Vucciria by Renato Guttuso.
Palazzo dei Normanni
The big cheese of Palermo’s palace scene easily resides in Palazzo dei Normanni. Palermo’s greatest attraction identifies as the pinnacle of cultural crossroads of Sicily. While Frederick II founded the palace, its foundations stretch far beyond the Norman days. The foundations of the structure date back to the 8th century B.C. The Arabs then built a palace here in the 9th century A.D. However it would be the Normans that brought the structure to its full splendor, founding the Scuola Poetica Siciliana.
You could easily spend hours within the palace. However you won’t want to miss the Palatine Chapel. This blend of Arabo-Norman collective genius is a feast for the eyes. Visitors to the Palazzo dei Normanni can also visit the Royal Apartments within the palace.
One of Palermo’s standout palaces can be found in Palazzo Mirto. The nobleman’s residence belonged to the princes of Lanza Filangieri. A visit here takes you through past decades in Palermo, dating back to the early 17th century. The lavish aboded tends to lend the best idea of a princely residence from the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors should be sure to marvel at the principal façade with its double row of balconies along with the Sala degli Arazzi. The tapestry hall boasts the mythological scenes painted by Giuseppe Velasco in 1804. The Chinese Sitting Room is also worth a look to see where the princes used to unwind.
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