Kalsa of Palermo

South-east of Corso Vittorio Emanuele begins what in the past has been the cultural and intellectual heart of Palermo. The name is evidently Arab (from the word khalisa = “pure”), in fact this is one of the most ancient boroughs of Palermo, rich of monuments and palaces. It was completely devastated by the air raids of the Second World War, but it is slowly recovering and coming to a new life, thanks to some projects of restorations and urban recovery, including feasts and cultural initiatives aiming at livening up its streets in summer. Arriving here from the Cala and proceeding in direction west along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, on the left side you will see the 13th century church of San Francesco, best known for the old workshop lying opposite the square, which has been selling focaccia since 1834.

Going back toward the sea you meet Piazza Marina, with the Garibaldi Garden ( a luxuriant and shadowy place with tropical plants) and the beautiful Museum of Puppets. The square represents a nice place to rest, with the beautiful palaces overlooking it, like the Chiaromonta Palace, an austere impressive building dating from the XIV century, with a beautiful inlaid façade and the outer courtyard. Between 1685 and 1782 this was the headquarter of the Inquisition, then it was converted into the civil Court, and currently it hosts the University rectorship. Beyond Porta Felice begins the sea promenade of the Foro Italico, not particularly beautiful but always very crowded, especially in summer during night promenades. In Piazza della Kalsa you have on the right side Abbatellis Palace and the Regional Gallery, which hosts an interesting collection of medieval art, among which a collection of paintings by the 15th century Sicilian painter Antonello da Messina.

Piazza Magione, between Piazza Alooro, Via Magione and via di Spasimo, is a favorite place for the young people of Palermo, especially in summer. Behind this square stands the Literary Park Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a cultural centre with a winery, a nice courtyard, a museum, a library and a centre for concerts and cultural initiatives. From Piazza Magione it takes only a few meters walk to get to the oasis of Villa Giulia and the Botanic Garden, beyond Via Lincoln.

Villa Giulia is a beautiful Italian garden of the 18th century, just like the botanic garden, one of the most important in Europe, with a stunning 12000 species of plants, many of which are tropical. The fat plants are also very beautiful, as well as the small garden of Mediterranean bush, lying on a hill at the bottom of the park.

Convent, Parrish, Lower basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi
  • Via del Parlamento, 32
  • For info:
  • Tel./fax: 091 61 62 819 (convent)
  • Tel./fax: 091 58 23 70 (parish)
International museum Antonio Pasqualino
  • Via Butera/Piazzetta Niscemi, 5
  • Opening hours:
  • Monday to Friday.: 09:00-13:00; 15.30-18.30
  • Saturday and Sunday.: 09.00-13.00
  • For info:
  • Tel.: 091 32 80 60
  • Fax: 091 32 82 76
  • E-mail: mimap@museomarionettepalermo.it<7li<
Sicily Regional Gallery – Palazzo Abatellis
  • Palermo, Via Alloro 4
  • Opening hours:
  • Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 09:00-13:30
  • Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 09:00-13:30; 15:00:19:30
  • Sunday and bank holidays: 09:00-12:30
  • For info:
  • Tel.: 091 62 30 011
  • Fax: 091 61 65 237<&/li>
Literary park Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
  • Vicolo della Neve all’Alloro, 2/5
  • For info:
  • Tel.: 091 61 60 796
  • Fax.: 091 69 00 690
  • Mobile: 349 88 22 453
  • E-mail: palermo@parcotomasi.it
  • Web: http://www.parcotomasi.it/
Villa Giulia
  • Via Lincoln angolo Foro Italico
  • Opening hours:
  • All days: 08:00-20:00
  • Tickets: free entry
Botanic Garden
  • Via Lincoln, 2/a
  • Opening hours:
  • From 1st to 31st March:
  • Monday to Sunday and bank holidays: 09:00-18:00
  • From 1st to 30th April
  • Monday to Sunday and bank holidays:: 09:00-19:00
  • 1st May: 09:00-14:00
  • From 2nd May to 31st August:
  • Monday to Sunday and bank holidays: 09:00-20:00
  • From 1st to 30th September:
  • Monday to Sunday and bank holidays:: 09:00-19:00
  • From 1st to 31st October:
  • Monday to Sunday and bank holidays: 09:00-18:00
  • From 1st November to 28th February:
  • Monday to Saturday: 09:00-17:00
  • Sunday and bank holiday: 09:00-14:00
  • Closed on new year’s day, Easter, 15th August and Christmas day
  • Entry is permitted until 30 minutes before closing time.
  • For info:
  • Toll free number: 800 90 36 31
  • Tel.: 091 62 38 234
  • E-mail: info@ortobotanico.palermo.it
  • Web: http://ortobotanico.palermo.it/

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