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Antiquities, Art, Curiosities in Palermo

Bust of Julius in Palermo's 
archeology museum.Schedules of these museums are fickle. In general, they're open weekday mornings (except Monday), and some afternoons.

Regional Archeological Museum (Piazza Olivella). An old structure housed in a crumbling ex-monastery, this boasts one of Sicily's better collections, with a number of Sicanian, Phoenician, Greek and Roman finds, as well as some interesting Paleo-Christian and Arab items. Parts of the ruined temple of Himera (near Termini Imerese) are housed here. In the courtyards numerous Roman statues are displayed in open air. Of particular interest is the Palermo Stone brought from Egypt.

Regional Art Gallery (Via Alloro 4), in the charming medieval Palazzo Abatellis, houses a fine art collection, featuring many medieval Byzantine and Norman-Arab works. (Note: Closed for restorations until January 2009.)

Modern Art Gallery (Piazza Sant'Anna, off Discesa dei Giudici). Located in a large former monastery, is a collection of modern, particularly eighteenth and nineteenth century paintings in the Romanticist and Expressionist styles.

Magione Museum (Piazza Magione). While it does not house a permanent collection and is not always open to the public, the small Magione monastery museum (Via Teatro Garibaldi 27 off Piazza Magione in the Kalsa district) occasionally presents interesting exhibits.

Cathedral "Tesoro" Museum (in Palermo Cathedral). Called the "Treasury," this is a collection of royal and ecclesiastical objects, and also the crowns and rings of Sicilian queens and kings.

Pitrè Ethnological Museum (Chinese Palace). This houses a museum with a focus on Sicilian folklore.

Pasqualio Marionette Museum (Via Butera). Collection of Sicilian marionettes and many from around the world.

Mazara del Vallo. The small "Museo del Satiro" (Piazza Plebiscito, Mazara del Vallo) has a large bronze satyr, found underwater several years ago, and other finds from this part of western Sicily. This museum is housed in a former church in the central area of the town.

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© 2008 Best of Sicily Travel Guide. Used by permission.

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