Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel

#8 in Best Things To Do in Sicily
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EleSi/Getty Images

Key Info

Piazza del Parlamento

Details

Castles/Palaces, Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Completed in 1143, this chapel is part of the Royal Palace complex in Palermo and was once described by the French author Guy de Maupassant as "the finest religious jewel ever dreamed up by the human mind." It is a mix of various styles, including European, Sicilian, Byzantine and Arabic, and features Byzantine mosaics and an Islamic-style wooden stalactite ceiling. You can also tour the Royal Apartments area, though they are closed Tuesday through Thursday, as well as the Royal Gardens. The palace also features rotating exhibits.

Recent travelers said the chapel is a must-visit and describe the mosaics as breathtaking.

Tickets to see the palace and chapel cost 12 euros (about $13.40), and it is open from Monday through Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. Add a tour of the garden for another 2 euros (around $2.16). For more information, visit the official website.

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There are many lovely islands off the coast of Sicily, and the hardest part may be choosing which ones to see. A popular choice is the Aeolian Islands, located near Messina and composed of seven main islands, which were created by active volcanoes. There you will find incredible sites like a Greek acropolis, a Norman cathedral, beautiful beaches, volcanic vents and even lava running into the sea.

Past visitors recommended visiting Stromboli volcano (seeing it at night when erupting is extra spectacular), the Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano on Lipari, the Scalata al Cratere on Isola Vulcano and Chiesa Vecchia di Quattropani on Lipari, as well.

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