Palermo’s essential sights are within walking distance and located centrally. The Palazzo dei Normanni (Royal Palace), originally built by the Saracens and enlarged by the Normans, under whom it housed the most magnificent of medieval European courts. The Norman Cattedrale was built in the 12th century and houses some royal tombs containing the remains of Sicilian monarchs. Other noteworthy sites are the Norman churches of La Martorana and San Giovanni degli Eremiti (the most obviously Arabic of the city’s Norman relics), the baroque San Giuseppe dei Teatini, and Santa Caterina, and first class museums of art and archaeology.
A short trip from Palermo brings you to the fine beach at Mondello or the famous medieval cathedral of Monreale which holds the most impressive collection of medieval mosaic work in the world. A ferry ride away brings you to the tiny volcanic island of Ustica with its clear waters, coral and fish, and nice variety of restaurants.