Visiting Punta Raisi - What to See and Do
(Palermo Airport PMO, Italy)
Punta Raisi is a small municipality resting on the north-western corner of Sicily
. Despite its diminutive size, Punta Raisi accommodates the busiest gateway into the island of Sicily - Palermo Airport. It welcomes more than five million patrons annually, and stands just over 30 km / 19 miles from the Sicilian capital and tourist-favourite - Palermo
Punta Raisi may not be an overly exciting tourist destination, but nearby Palermo is commonly regarded as Sicily's most appealing city, with Syracuse and Catania right behind its heels. Don't let the mafia reputation of this area deter any thoughts of holidaying here. The city and province are more than safe for vacationers.
A plethora of Byzantine, Norman and Arabic structures make up the city's primary historical sites. These attractions are perfect for sightseeing adventures, especially after dark, when many are illuminated. Climb to the peak of Monte Pellegrino for undisturbed city sights and spectacular views of the mighty Mediterranean. Despite taking a backwards step to the likes of Milan
, Palermo still offers a very competitive tourist market.
Ten things you must do in Punta Raisi
- The eerie Capuchin Catacombs are one of Sicily's more gruesome yet fascinating tourist attractions. The Capuchin Convent was the main burial site throughout Palermo's history, so crypts were built below the convent to house mummified remains. There are posted signs prohibiting photography of any kind in the crypt, although this is rarely enforced. Some 8,000 former residents of the city are entombed within this landmark.
- The grandeur of Palermo Cathedral is unmatched throughout Sicily. It displays a unique, multi-faceted structure of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-classical design. Even though the interior nave and intricate finishings are stunning, it is the Cathedral Treasury that gets much of the attention. Relics dating to the 14th and 15th century are exhibited here.
- Palermo's Archaeological Museum stands as one of the most important ancient culture centres in Italy. A fantastic array of human and built remains from Etruscan, Hellenistic and even Roman times lay waiting within the museum. In addition to this, the famous temples of Segesta and Selinunte have numerous possessions housed within this complex.
- Often referred to as the Royal Palace, the Palace of the Normans is located at the 'top of Palermo'. Visitors are greeted by a beautiful Renaissance facade, but there is more to the palace than just its initial appearance. The majestic Palatine Chapel (Cappella Palatina) is found inside the edifice, and the many little complexes of the palace are connected by interesting interior gardens and alleys.
- The Palatine Chapel is the former chapel of Sicily's Norman Kings, and is certainly a great attraction to explore. Inside the chapel, tourists can see the ornate Byzantine mosaics. In addition, the beauty of the chapel's Saracens arches will leave visitors feeling breathless.
- While you are exploring the exciting Piazza Bellini, San Cataldo's Church is one of the more alluring sites you will come across. This classic example of Norman architecture is renowned for its simple yet attractive design. The church has been standing since the 11th century, although the structure did undergo a major makeover during the 1800s.
- There are several inspiring theatres located within the city. The Greatest Theatre (Teatro Massimo) is Italy's largest and Palermo's centre of theatrical culture. Opera is a regular feature at this landmark. The Teatro Politeama is another theatre found within this city, but was mostly used while the Teatro Massimo was being refurbished.
- The largest botanical gardens in the whole of Italy are found within Palermo. Spread over 30 acres / 12 hectares of luscious, open green space, the park provides the ideal company for a stroll. It was established back in 1785, but has only grown in stature since then. The aquarium, greenhouses and geographical zone are among the most visited sections within the landmark.
- Ancient fortifications are located across the city. However, it is Castello a Mare that grabs the tourist headlines, as extensive remains of the castle still linger for visitors. This once Arab and Norman stronghold is open to tourists every day of the week. However, visitors don't have to be historians to get pleasure from this site. This Renaissance-style structure is but another architectural treasure in this rich part of Sicily.
- Mount Pellegrino provides the ultimate hike and lookout experience in Palermo. It stands behind the city, protruding some 600 metres / 1,970 feet into the sky. This is definitely an activity for tourists with plenty of energy. Nevertheless, it is possible to reach stunning vantage points on the mountain by car. The view from its peak is worth the trip to Palermo alone.