Palermo city layout

The major neighborhoods, streets, and piazzas of Palermo

Central Palermo is divided into an Old Center to the south and a New City to the north by Via Cavour.

The main roads of Palermo

There are two main north-south roads.

Via Maqueda/Via R. Settimo starts just left of the train station and crosses Via Cavour at the central Piazza Verdi, also called Teatro Massimo after the theater at its center.

Roughly parallel to Via Maqueda to the east is Via Roma, a busier and more commercialized boulevard that starts directly across from the train station.

Palermo's Old City

Running east-west through the heart of the Old Center is Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which crosses Via Maqueda at the Quattro Canti, neatly dividing the Old Center into traditional quadrants.

To the southeast of this intersection and stretching to the harbor lies La Kalsa, which 1,000 years ago was the Saracen Emir's walled quarter for his and other Arab nobles' palaces. These were later replaced with medieval palazzi and baroque oratories, but the neighborhood was badly bombed during World War II and is still partly in ruins. Many of Palermo's central sights are here.

To the southwest of Quattro Canti lies the residential Alberghiera, home to the vast Ballarò market and more bombed-out zones, and less than salubrious after dark.

The center's northwest quadrant is Sincaldi, and aside from the Capo market holds relatively little of specific interest to the visitor.

Finally, the northeast Amalfitani district is the smallest of the quarters (La Cala harbor intrudes to fill half of it), home to the Vucciria fish market. It's so small that the Via Roma division down its middle helps keep the zone less mazelike, a bit brighter, and more commercially oriented.

Palermo's New City

The New City is an easily navigable grid of broad roads.

Its center is Piazza Castelnuovo/Politeama, where Via Maqueda (now called Via R. Settimo) crosses Via E. Amari.

We're most interested in the hotel-, bar-, and restaurant-filled southern half of the New City—centered on such streets as the wide Via Mariano Stabile to the port and the pedestrian-only Via Principe di Belmonte—than the sprawling urban residential section to the north.


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Tourist Info

Palermo tourist office
Piazza Castelnuovo 34
tel. +39-091-605-8351

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