Today you will be disembarking and car touring in one of the loveliest places in Italy – Palermo. Your driver and private luxurious vehicle will pick you up directly at the port and bring you to visit not only Palermo, but also Monreale, and Mondello.
Palermo has been inhabited since the stone age, as proven by the many artefacts and carvings found inside the caves of Adduara on the slopes of Monte Pellegrino. From the 8th century BC the area became a very important commercial base due to its position near the sea but also because of its two rivers Kemoia and Papireto that are used as ports, creating a very large protected area. In fact, Palermo became the unattainable goal of the Greeks who never managed to conquer it.
Palermo remained the capital of Sicily even after the Norman conquest and reached its maximum splendour during the reign of Frederick II. Today on your private car tour you will see many famous monuments from this epoch – The church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio or Martorana, the Palatina Chapel. See the Baroque palace Branciforte di Raccujia which was the private residence of the Count of Raccuja and the Zisa Castle, now the home of the Museum of Islamic Art. After your visit of Palermo, your driver will continue your shore excursion with a visit to Monreale.
Monreale is beautifully located above the “Conca d’Oro” or “Golden Valley” which was so named for the once numerous citrus orchards that dotted the valley. Once a hunting reserve for the rulers of Palermo, it later became a real urban center when William II decided to build the famous cathedral here that you will see today on your tour. Most of the town is in fact built around the cathedral complex which includes not only the Duomo but also a Benedictine Abbey and the Royal Palace later transformed into a Seminary. Construction started around the year 1172 by William II when as legend has it the Madonna appeared to him in a dream and told him to build the cathedral with the money his father had hidden and where the money was hidden.
The Duomo should be an equal in beauty and size to other famous European cathedrals and be even more beautiful than the Palatina Chapel built by his grandfather Ruggero II. The church is dedicated to Santa Maria Nuova and is filled with famous and important works of art which are definitely worth seeing during your visit here. After your tour in Monreale, your driver will take you to one of its suburbs and beach resorts at Mondello.
Mondello is the most popular beach resort of Palermo at the foot of Mount Pellegrino. Noisy and colorful, this town was a swampland up until 100 years ago, when Prince Francesco Lanza di Scalea had the idea together with a Belgian company to build a plant to drain the land, giving birth to the Mondello beach. Only a few fishing boats remain in the old port which has now been transformed into a row of pizzerias, fast food, and cafés. You will see the remains of the old “tonnara”, or tuna factory, once the most active on the coast. Also visible is an old guard tower from 1445. In the late afternoon your driver will take you back to the Palermo port and your ship. less >>
The proposed itineraries are only examples of possible tours. For different pick up / drop off locations or customized itineraries we invite our clients to contact one of our tour coordinators to help them design their own tour.