Grand Hotel Wagnerinfo Directions
We have selected some special locations of interest in the vicinity of our Hotel for you to plan beforehand your perfect stay in Palermo!
Click on one of the listed locations to visualize the full decription and the location on the map.
Palermo Central Stationinfo Directions
If you arrive in Palermo by train, it's very easy to reach our Hotel from the Central Station.
Take bus no. 101 direction "Stadio". After a 10-minute ride you'll reach the stop off Via Roma closest to our Hotel. After that it's a two-minute walk from the bus stop to the Grand Hotel Wagner.
The bus fee is €1,40 (the ticket is valid 90 minutes).
The Portinfo Directions
Politeama Theatreinfo Directions
Construction works started in 1867 on a project by Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda. The theatre officially opened in 1874 although still incomplete and without a roof. The building was designed to enhance its social purpose as a "theatre of the people".
In 1874, its horseshoe-shaped auditorium could in fact seat an audience of 5,000, a double row of box seats, and a gallery divided into two orders. The main entrance to the theatre has a triumphal arc of neoclassical inspiration, surmounted by a four-horse chariot with a bronze Apollo by Italian sculptor Mario Rutelli.
The term "Politeama" indicates a generic type of theatre in which different types of plays are staged.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday from 10.00 a.m to 1.00 p.m.
Massimo Theatreinfo Directions
The Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele is the largest opera house in Italy, and the third largest in Europe after the Opéra National of Paris and the Staatsoper in Vienna.
The foyer, the halls, the galleries, and the monumental staircases surround the actual theatre, creating a large architectural complex.
Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m
Salinas Archaeological Museuminfo Directions
The Antonio Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum hosts one of the largest and most important collections of Carthaginian and Greek art in Italy, alongside many other items that reflect a considerable part of Sicilian history.
The museum, formerly the seat of the Fathers of the Congregation of San Filippo Neri, was named after the renowned Palermo archaeologist and numismatic Antonio Salinas. The building is part of the monumental complex of Olivella, which also includes the Church of Sant'Ignazio and the adjoining oratory.
Opening times: Tuesday-Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and 2.30-6.30 p.m. / Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 8.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
The Vucciria Marketinfo Directions
The Vucciria is a well-known historical market in Palermo. The name derives from the term "bucceria", which in turn derives from the French "boucherie", or butcher shop.
The market was in fact initially limited to slaughtering (at the time of the Angevin Empire an actual slaughterhouse was here) and selling meat. It later became a market selling fish, fruit and vegetables, and used to be called "the large Vucciria" to distinguish it from the other smaller markets.
"Vucciria" is a Sicilian word for "confusion". Today, the confusion of the overlapping voices and the sellers' cries (the so-called "abbanniate") is one of the typical features of this market of Palermo.
The Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatiniinfo Directions
Built in the 17th century in the Baroque style, this church presents on its main façade an eighteenth-century statue of Saint Joseph (Giuseppe) placed on a marble shield with the symbol of the carpenters.
The inside is divided into three naves, emphasized by columns, overlooked by chapels that host some valuable works of art. The rich decoration of the interior is characterised by stuccoes, statues, and frescoes. One of the sides of the church is one of the "Quattro Canti" [i.e. four corners] of Piazza Vigliena.
Opening times: from July 16 to Sept 14 - Monday-Saturday 7.30-11.00 a.m. and 6.15-8.00 p.m., from Sept 15 to July 15 - Monday-Saturday 7.30-12.00 a.m. and 5.30-8.00 p.m., Sunday and holidays from 8.30 a.m. to 1.15 p.m. and 6.00-8.00 p.m.
The "Quattro Canti"info Directions
The Quattro Canti, also known as Piazza Vigliena, Octagon of the Sun, or Theatre of the Sun, is an octagonal square located at the intersection of the two main streets of Palermo, at approximately half of their length: Via Maqueda and the "Cassaro" (today Corso Vittorio Emanuele).
Built between 1609 and 1620, the four façades have the convex sides of the beautiful seventeenth-century palazzi with the classic three overlapping orders (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) and each with, at the centre, a fountain surmounted by a statue representing one of the four seasons.
The niches on the upper orders host statues of Spanish kings and, on the highest level, of the former female patron saints of Palermo (Cristina, Ninfa, Oliva, and Agata) later replaced by Santa Rosalia.
The intersection also divides Palermo into its four old main districts: the Kalsa (Mandamento Tribunali), the Albergheria (Mandamento Palazzo Reale), the Seralcadio (Mandamento Monte di Pietà), and the Loggia (Castellammare).
The Capo Marketinfo Directions
The Capo Market is located in the highest part of the densely-populated Seralcadio district. This is where the so-called "schiavoni", the Arab slave merchants, had their headquarters.
During the Norman reign, the Muslims who remained in Palermo took refuge here. Around the 13th century, following the construction of the city walls, the district became a part of Palermo and was populated by craftsmen and merchants, mainly in its higher part, known as "Caput Seralcadi" hence the current name "Capo" [top, head].
Today the long street crossing the market, from Porta Carini to Corso Vittorio Emanuele, is still an ongoing swarming of stalls and shops, foodstuffs with thousand smells, flavours and colours, in the typical tradition of the Arab suk, living witness of the complex history and multicultural soul of Palermo.
A must visit is the Baroque jewel of the Church of the Immacolata Concezione (1612) located right in the heart of the market.
Piazza Pretoriainfo Directions
Piazza Pretoria lies on the boundary of the Kalsa district just off the Cassaro and Via Maqueda, a few meters from the Quattro Canti, the geometrical centre of the historical town of Palermo.
After 1861, following the invasion of Palermo by the House of the Savoy from the northern Italian region of Piemonte, the fountain became the symbol of corrupt municipality and the people of Palermo started calling it Piazza della Vergogna [square of shame], also for the nudity its statues.
In its centre lies the large fountain (1554) by sculptor Francesco Camilliani that dominates the entire square. The space is surrounded by buildings on three sides: Palazzo Pretorio (seat of the municipality), built in the 14th century and restored in the 19th century, the Church of Santa Caterina (16th century), and the adjacent Palazzo Bonocore and Palazzo Bordonaro. On the fourth side is the staircase leading down to Via Maqueda.
The Church of San Cataldoinfo Directions
The Church of San Cataldo is a Christian temple erected in the 12th century in Piazza Bellini. The church was built at the behest of Majone of Bari, admiral of King William I. It’s easily recognizable by its three red domes that give this building its Arabic flavour that fits in the surrounding Roman district.
The church is from the Norman period (12th century) and, although the exact year of its construction is unknown, it was presumably built between 1154 and 1160.
The Church of San Cataldo is part of the Arab-Norman Itinerary included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.
Opening times: Monday-Sunday (including holidays) from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
The Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (a.k.a. Martorana)info Directions
Overlooking Piazza Bellini, the Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio was built at the behest of George of Antioch, admiral of Roger II King of Sicily, and dedicated to Our Lady for her protection.
The construction works started in 1143 and ended in 1185. In 1282, the church was the seat of the ceremony during which the crown of Sicily was offered to Peter III King of Aragon, after the War of the Sicilian Vespers. In 1435, the church was assigned to the Benedictine nuns of the adjacent convent founded in 1194 by Eloisa Martorana, hence the name by which the church is commonly known: Church of the Martorana.
One of the most fascinating Byzantine churches of the Middle Ages, and a testimony of the eastern religious and artistic culture, the building belongs to the Catholic Church but follows the rite and spiritual traditions that are closer to the Orthodox Church.
The Church of the Martorana is part of the Arab-Norman Itinerary included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday 9.30-13.00 and 15.30-17.30, Sunday and holidays hours 9-10.30. Sunday and holidays 9.00-10.30 a.m.
Oratory of San Lorenzoinfo Directions
The Oratory was built around 1570 by the Company of San Francesco on the ruins of an ancient church dedicated to San Lorenzo.
It was soon entrusted to the friars of the nearby convent of San Francesco who had the task of burying the poor in the Kalsa district.
Only later was the oratory embellished by the stuccoes of Giacomo Serpotta who worked there between 1699 and 1706. On the altar was Caravaggio's masterpiece The Nativity (1609), which was stolen in 1969 and never recovered.
Opening times: Monday-Sunday (including holidays) from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
Cathedral of Palermoinfo Directions
The Cathedral of Palermo, whose history reflects the history of the city, has undergone continuous rearrangements, restorations, additions, and modifications over the centuries.
The precious portico on the southern façade by magister maragmae Antonio Gambara dates back to the first half of the 15th century: this is considered a masterpiece of Sicilian art with elements of Catalan Gothic flamboyant architecture. The three Arabian-style ogival arches, flanked by two lateral towers, lie under a large tympanum, and are framed by a decorative layer of sculptural elements depicting animals in motion, and vegetable and anthropomorphic figures.
Under the portico are bas-reliefs of great historical interest: one celebrates the coronation of Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, the other that of Charles III of Bourbon, which both took place in the Cathedral of Palermo.
In 1466, Archbishop Nicola Puxades enriched the cathedral with a finely-carved wooden choir made of 78 lavish choral stalls in the Catalan Gothic style. A must visit are the roofs of the Cathedral from which it is possible to admire the entire city (every day from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.).
The Cathedral of Palermo is part of the Arab-Norman Itinerary included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday from 8.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. / Sunday and holidays from 7.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 4.00-7.00 p.m.
The Church of Jesus (a.k.a. Casa Professa) and Ballarò Marketinfo Directions
The Church of Jesus, also known as "Casa Professa", is one of the most important Baroque churches of Palermo and the whole of Sicily.
The historical complex of the Company of Jesus is located in the historical centre of Palermo, in the Albergheria (Mandamento Palazzo Reale) district. It includes various properties and extensions that incorporate several other religious buildings.
After almost two years of restoration works, on 24 February 2009 the church was finally re-opened with a solemn Mass presided by the archbishop of Palermo and attended by numerous Jesuits and civil and military authorities.
Casa Professa is one of the most famous monuments in Palermo and, without doubt, one of the most sumptuous Sicilian churches and highest examples of Baroque in its more "redundant", rich, ostentatious, and exuberant form.
A must visit, within walking distances from the church, is the oldest market in Palermo: Ballarò. This is attended daily by hundreds of people and animated by the sellers' high-pitched cries (the so-called "abbanniate") that with their characteristic and colourful Sicilian dialect try to attract the passers-by.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 4.00-7.00 p.m. / Sunday from 8.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. / Holidays 5.00-7.00 p.m.
Palazzo Chiaramonte - Steriinfo Directions
Commissioned by Manfredi Chiaramonte in 1320, Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri is a perfect example of architectural progression from the medieval castle to the patrician palazzo, as evident from its massive and square-like shapes.
The building is a part of Palermo's history: from the 15th century up to 1517 it was the residence of the Spanish viceroy, then of the Royal Customs and finally, from 17th century to 1782, it hosted the tribunal of the Holy Inquisition.
Government opponents were executed in the square that faces the building. In the 1950s it was restored by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Today it is the seat of the chancellor of the University of Palermo. The famous painting "Vucciria" by Renato Guttuso can be seen inside the building.
Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2.30-6.30 p.m. / Sunday and holidays from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.
Palazzo Mirtoinfo Directions
Palazzo Mirto is a historical landmark of Palermo. Today it has been turned into a museum. The building is located in the historic centre of Palermo in the Kalsa district, the ancient Arabic fortress.
For four centuries the Filangeri family lived here, followed by the Lanza Filangieri princes of Mirto, hence the name of the palazzo. The Filangeri are still remembered today as the most important Norman family in Sicily and Southern Italy.
The interior is furnished with magnificence. This is a great example of the residences of the aristocracy of Palermo. The furniture in the rooms ranges from the 17th century to 19th century. It also hosts numerous Murano chandeliers, lacquered panels of China, watches, porcelains, and tapestries.
Opening times: Monday-Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Palazzo Abatellis Regional Art Galleryinfo Directions
Designed by architect Matteo Carnilivari who at the time was working in Palermo following the construction of Palazzo Aiutamicristo, Palazzo Abatellis (15th century) is a splendid example of Catalan Gothic architecture, and the residence of Francesco Abatellis (or Patella).
During World War Two, the night between 16 and 17 April 1943, it was struck by air raid that destroyed the loggia, the colonnade, the entire south-west wing, and the west tower wall. It was subsequently decided to restore the building and transform it into a Medieval Art Museum.
Works were completed in 1953. Architect Carlo Scarpa designed the set-up and furnishing of the museum that opened to the public on 23 June 1954.
Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Botanical gardeninfo Directions
Palermo’s Botanical Garden is a museum and a training and educational centre managed by the Department of Botanical Sciences of the University of Palermo. It is located right next to Villa Giulia. Entrance is off Via Lincoln in the Kalsa district.
The garden hosts over 12,000 different species of plants. Its origin dates back to 1779, when the Royal Academy of Studies established a Botany and Medical teaching post and assigned a small plot of land to create a botanical garden in which medicinal plants could be cultivated for teaching purposes and also for public health.
This size of the garden soon proved insufficient and in 1786 it was decided to transfer it to its current location, in the area of Sant'Erasmo, at the time known as the infamous seat of the Holy Inquisition's burnings at the stake.
Opening times: From May to August every day from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Palazzo dei Normanni and the Palatine Chapelinfo Directions
Today the Royal Palace of Palermo, better known as Palazzo dei Normanni, is the seat of Sicily's regional government and one of the most visited monuments of the island. This is the Europe's oldest royal palace: the kings of Sicily, Frederick II, and Conrad IV lived here.
Palazzo dei Normanni is located in the highest part of the old town centre, on top of the first Carthaginian villages, traces of which are still visible in the basement. The first building, the "Qasr" or "palace" or "castle", dates back to the Arab domination in Sicily (9th century) and was later transformed by the Normans in a monumental complex that would express all the power of the monarchy.
A series of tower-like buildings was built and linked by a system of arcades, gardens, and goldsmiths' and textile workshops. An underground tunnel connects this complex to the nearby cathedral.
In 1132, under the reign of Roger II, the Palatine Chapel was built. This was entirely covered by Byzantine mosaics, including those depicting the famous Christ Pantocrator, and soon became the focus around which all the various buildings of the complex revolved.
When the Swabians arrived in Palermo, they turned Palazzo dei Normanni into their administrative headquarters, hosting the chancellor's office and various literary activities including the Sicilian school of poetry. Palazzo dei Normanni and the Palatine Chapel are part of the Arab-Norman Itinerary included by UNESCO in the World Heritage List.
In Piazza Indipendenza, in front of Palazzo dei Normanni, buses depart for the Cathedral of Monreale (AMAT Bus no. 389 or AST service).
Opening times: Palatine Chapel: Monday-Saturday from 8.15 a.m. to 5.40 p.m. (last tickets on sale 5.00 p.m.) Sunday and holidays from 8.15 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. (last tickets on sale 12.15 p.m.)
Please note that the Palazzo dei Normanni + Palatine Chapel combined visit is only available Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The Church of San Giovanni degli Eremitiinfo Directions
One of the most interesting examples of Sicilian-Norman art, the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti is considered a symbol of Palermo and one of most fascinating and unique churches of the city.
More than a Christian church this building reflects the spatial conception of the Islamic mosques. Its eastern appeal is further emphasized by the bright red domes designed by nineteenth-century architect Giuseppe Patricolo.
Adjacent to the ancient medieval south-west walls of the city, the complex of San Giovanni degli Eremiti is very close to Palazzo dei Normanni, near where the waters of the old river Kemonia, one of the two now-disappeared rivers of Palermo, used to run.
Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 2.00-6.30 p.m.
The Zisa Castleinfo Directions
The first news of the Zisa Castle (from the Arabic "al-ʿAzīza", i.e. the splendid) from 1165 and concerning the beginning of its construction, have reached us thanks to historian Ugo Falcando in the Liber de Regno Siciliae.
The Zisa was built outside the walls of Palermo, in a Norman park called Genoardo that with its beautiful water fountains and wondrous gardens extended from the village of Altofonte to the walls of the Palazzo dei Normanni.
The etymology of name Zisa is explained by Michele Amari in his History of the Sicilian Muslims [Storia dei musulmani di Sicilia]: "William […], competing with the father […] began building the castle in order for it to be more beautiful and sumptuous than the one we had received from Ruggiero. The new building was erected in a very short time and at great expense, and was named al-ʿAzîz, that Italians turned into "Zisa" as we call it today."
Opening times: Tuesday-Sunday (including holidays) from 9.00 a.m. to 1.15 p.m. and 2.00-6.15 p.m. (Monday from 9.00 a.m. to 1.15 p.m.)
The Catacombs of the Capuchin Monasteryinfo Directions
The Monastery is known throughout the world for its basement hosting a large cemetery, which attracts many visitors, and that used to be a mandatory stop of the Grand Tour (also visited by Guy de Maupassant).
The macabre spectacle of the countless corpses exposed to the eyes of the visitors, is indeed food for thought on the transience of life, and the vanity and futility of mankind. The galleries, dug at the end of the 16th century, form a large rectangular-shaped cemetery. The exact number of the buried corpses is unknown although about 8,000 are estimated.
The mummies, standing or lying down, are perfectly dressed and divided by gender and social status, although most of them were from the high class since mummification was a very expensive process.
One of the most well-known corpses in the Capuchin catacombs is that of little Rosalia Lombardo. Born in Palermo on 13 December 1918, Rosalia died of pneumonia on 6 December 1920, barely two years of age, and was one of the last to be buried in the crypt. The embalming, strongly wanted by her shattered father, was performed by Prof. Alfredo Salafia, who also embalmed Italian patriot and statesman Francesco Crispi.
Opening times: Every day from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and 3.00-6.00 p.m.
How to reach us from Palermo airport: (approx. distance: 30 km)
- "Prestia & Comandè" Shuttle Service: Cost €6,30 per person (one way)
Your stop: Piazza Politeama, 100 meters from the Hotel
- Taxi: Cost €40 approx. (one way)
- Private transfer, upon request: Cost €60.00 for no more than 3 passengers (one way)