Take your pick from a midmorning or afternoon tour, and connect with your guide at a meeting point in the Kalsa neighborhood, located near the Cala port along Palermo’s seashore. Retreat from the city’s modern bustle to walk through winding back streets and quiet squares that hold centuries of legends.
With a name originating from the Arabic Al-Khalisa, meaning ‘the chosen’ or ‘the elected,’ the Kalsa dates to the 9th century and was first built as a fortified citadel during Palermo's era of Islamic domination. While the Kalsa has undergone considerable change since this time, you can still imagine its original grandeur complete with defensive walls, sparkling fountains, fragrant gardens, and stately palaces that housed the emir and his ministers.
As your guide weaves the story of Kalsa’s intriguing history and local myths, visit neighborhood landmarks including the Abatellis Palace, San Lorenzo Oratory, and San Francesco Square. Admire surviving Moorish architecture, which now stands side-by-side with Baroque churches and newly built roads. Feel free to ask all the questions you like during your 3-hour exploration of this often-overlooked but fascinating quarter of the Sicilian capital.