Sicily's rich heritage can be explored through its many fascinating museums, historical buildings and palaces. Eras from the early Phoenicians to the 20th century are covered, with the best of them found in the capital, Palermo, and in Syracuse in the south-east.
Many museums in Sicily are dedicated to archaeology, including those of the Regional Archaeological Museum and the Syracuse Archaeological Museum. For medieval architecture and puppetry, the Corvaja Palace in Taormina is a must, while further offerings await in Sicilian cities such as Agrigento, Catania, Cefalu, Messina and Marsala.
Regional Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Regionale)
Address: Via Bara all'Olivella 24, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 091 611 6805
One for the archaeological aficionado is this unassuming, almost shabby-looking museum in central Palermo. Within its ancient convent buildings it features renowned treasures from the Phoenician to the Roman and Saracen periods, as well as impressive Greek items, although the ancient Phoenician sarcophagi are the highlight. Be sure to also see the items from Selinunte's temples and the underwater archaeology exhibit.
Open hours: Tuesday to Saturday - 08:30 to 18:15, Sunday - 09:00 to 13:00
Admission: charge, discount for children
Corvaja Palace (Palazzo Corvaja)
Address: Largo Santa Caterina, Taormina, Sicily, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 094 261 0274
This palace-cum-museum in the eastern town of Taormina, under the gaze of Mount Etna
, is well preserved. The Palazzo Corvaja building itself is impressive, displaying the typical construction materials of the time - black lava and white marble. It is also home to the Storia Popolare Art Museum, which has fun displays of folk art and puppets.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:00 to 13:00, 16:00 to 20:00
Papiro Museum (Museo del Papiro)
Address: Viale Teocrito 66, Tyche, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 093 161 616
The Museo del Papiro in Syracuse is an interesting museum that focuses on the production of papyri (old-style document paper). Syracuse's ideal, hot climate is one of the few places in the world where the papyrus plant thrives, which accounts for the popularity of papyri here. The process from reed preparation to painting is especially of interest. Nearby is the Syracuse Archaeological Museum, and combined visits to these two attractions are popular.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:00 to 14:00
Syracuse Archaeological Museum / Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi)
Address: Viale Teocrito 66, Syracuse, Sicily, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 091 464 022
The Paolo Orsi Regional Archaeological Museum is one of the best archaeological museums in the entire country. It has an extensive collection of Greek and Roman relics from early Sicily and includes the Landolina Venus statue and an interesting collection of skeletons. This cultural attraction is both modern and stylish, with lots of steel and glass, and well thought-out exhibition halls.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 09:00 to 13:00
International Marionette Museum (Museo Internazionale della Marionette)
Address: Via Butera 1, Palermo, Sicily, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 091 328 060
Set south-east of the city centre near the Palazzo Chiaramonte is the stunning Museo Internazionale della Marionette. It mainly covers Sicilian puppetry and has a vast collection ranging through many eras of the island's existence, with a slant on nobility, heroes and pirates. There are also some Asian puppets as well as 'Punch and Judy' dolls from England
. Free shows are often staged here in the summer.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 10:00 to 13:00, 13:30 to 18:30
Admission: charge, discounts for students and families
More information about Palermo Museums