The architectural wonders and magnificent squares of the centre of Palermo are famous and admired around the world. Taking a stroll through the central streets of the city is like losing yourself in the splendours of a glorious past.

Among Palermo’s most fascinating locations we find i Quattro Canti (the Four Corners), an octagonal square at the intersection of the city’s main streets, via Maqueda and corso Vittorio Emanuele. At its four corners rise up the magnificent facades of four 17th-century buildings divided into three orders, with four fountains at the centre that are topped with statues of the four seasons.
Just a few steps away from the Quattro Canti is Piazza Pretoria, housing in its centre the refined Renaissance fountain that was the work of Florence’s Francesco Camilliani, as well as Palazzo Pretorio, also called Palazzo delle Aquile (Palace of the Eagles), dating back to the 14th century and the historic site of the local senate. It now houses city hall.

Continuing along via Maqueda, you’ll reach another square of great historical value, Piazza Bellini, on to which face the Chiesa di Santa Caterina (Church of Saint Catherine), the Chiesa della Martorana (Martorana Church) and the Chiesa di San Cataldo (Church of Saint Catald). This last church dates back to the Norman period, with its three bulbous, rose-coloured cupole (domes), typical of Arabic buildings, giving the setting an evocative Eastern feel.

Nearby, there is also the Cattedrale di Palermo (Cathedral of Palermo), a world-famous church built in 1184 by Archbishop Gualtiero Offamilio. Over the centuries, it underwent renovations, the last and most significant of which took place in the 18th century. With its captivating mixture of styles, the cathedral is a wonderful summary of history and art over the past millennium in Sicily.

Strategically located just a short distance from the most fascinating locations of Palermo’s historic city centre, Hotel Columbia is the ideal choice for anyone who wants to be seduced by the magic of a city that won’t be easily forgotten, thanks to its artistic treasures, street food by day, and lively and energetic nightlife.

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