Transporting Palermo’s Tourists


I sometimes think of myself as somewhat of a tour guide, rather than just a shuttle driver taking people from Palermo airport to their hotels. Through my experiences of driving through the region, I have come to know Palermo like the back of my hand. I can tell you about the history of the area, and about the cathedrals and palaces that you can see there. I can tell you the best sites to visit which areas to avoid and where to have dinner. I see my task as being more than just providing a ride from the airport to Palermo, but rather as an educational trip where you can learn about the destination you have arrived in.

A Spiritual Guide

Being a shuttle driver, I have a lot of time to consider the best places to see as I drive past them so often from the airport to Palermo. In my opinion, the churches of Palermo are top of the list of sights to see, and they are both beautiful and peaceful.

When on a Palermo airport transfer, I often spend quite a bit of time advising my passengers on which churches to see. Palermo Cathedral, I tell them, is definitely worth a visit. It is a grand sight to behold, and this architectural complex shows a range of different styles. Being a passionate historian myself, I am fascinated by its history. It was erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil, an Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and King William II’s minister. Since its original development, it has been added to, altered and restored a countless number of times, creating a mixture of different architectural styles as they developed over the centuries.

I don’t get much time to visit this beautiful site myself, but I always recommend it to passengers when driving from the airport to Palermo. I think it’s a great way to spend a quiet afternoon, and it really captures the architecture of the region.

A Trip Fit For Kings

I always try to think of the sites I would like to see if I were a tourist in Palermo, and I try to inspire my passengers on their Palermo airport transfer before their holiday has even begun. Conjuring images of grandiosity and important historical events is the Palace of the Kings, Palazzo dei Normanni. The palace was created in the 9th century by the Emir of Palermo, and was to become the seat of the Kings of Sicily.

In the 12th century it was extended by King Roger II and the Norman Kings. It contains the Capella Palatina, full of wonderful mosaics, marble walls and elaborately fretted and painted ceilings. I’m really passionate about this site, and I talk about it on nearly every transfer from Palermo airport.

The castles of Zisa and Cuba are also worth going to see, the former houses used by the kings of Palermo for hunting. Zisa is particularly interesting because it houses an Islamic museum, and the history of Cuba is intriguing as it was formerly surrounded by water.

Entertainment at the Opera House

Many of my passengers on Palermo transfers haven’t yet planned their activities for every night. Being a fan of classical music, I often recommend an evening out at the Teatro Massimo, ‘Greatest Theater,’ which is the largest Opera house in Italy, covering an area of 8 000 square meters. It opened in 1897, and has enjoyed an active performance schedule ever since. Enrico Caruso performed La Gioconda during the theater’s opening season, and performed Rigoletto towards the end of his career.

As I say to all of my passengers on their drive from Palermo airport, Palermo is a culturally rich region, and the activities to focus on should give you insight into this dynamic cultural history.