Mount Pellegrino - 10 Things to Know Before Visiting
1 Day Treks
Things to know
About Mount Pellegrino
Mount Pellegrino is a 606 meters high hill offering panoramic views of Palermo city, its surrounding mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is located in Palermo city in Sicily, southern Italy. Mount Pellegrino towers over the western side of the bay of Palermo, isolated from all the other mountains that surround the city.
Hotels near Mount Pellegrino
Hotels to stay near Mount Pellegrino
Things to Do at Mount Pellegrino
Mount Pellegrino is one of the granite-covered mountains that dominate the landscape in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily.
The hiking path to the top starts at Scala Vecchia. The path is paved with granite stones that line the sidewalks throughout Palermo. The road switches back and forth along the steep mountain, sometimes over raised sidewalks.
The trailhead to the mountain is marked with the unusual symbol of Sicily - an unusual design depicting a head surrounded by three legs. The hike is steep in some sections but the views along the way are just spectacular.
Earlier in the hike, sweeping panoramic views of Palermo city and its harbour are the treats. But as the trail continues further, the view is dominated by hills dotted with cacti and shaded wooded areas with wildflowers. Along the way, there are many wooded crosses draped in purple cloth and shrines of various sizes. The trailhead was originally constructed to lead the faithful to the Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia. Now it is also used by hikers and day-trippers.
Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia at Mount Pellegrino
The Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia has a beautiful baroque exterior. But the interior is a bit different. The sanctuary sits inside the mountain in a cave. Intricate ornamental icons including a statue of Saint Rosalia bathed in blue light fills the cave. The statue is surrounded by offerings ranging from flowers and notes to helmets. There is even a magical water fountain that cures eye diseases albeit for a price for the water.
Once you are at the sanctuary, you are at the top of Mount Pellegrino. you can walk around to visit the many viewpoints and smaller attractions in the mount.
History of Mount Pellegrino
Mount Pellegrino is home to the Santuario di Santa Rosalia. A pilgrimage site was erected in honour of Saint Rosalia- the fourth female patron saint of Palermo.
Rosalia, a young woman was claimed to be from a noble family, of descent from King Charlemagne. She rejected her aristocratic roots to live as a hermit in one of the caves that riddle Mount Pellegrino.
When a plague struck Palermo in the 17th century, Rosalia was said to have reappeared to a sick woman and then to a hunter who she told where her remains could be found. The hunter found her bones and brought them to Palermo carrying them in a procession through the city. The plague came to an end following this and Rosalia was venerated as the patron saint of Palermo.
Legend has it that Saint Rosalia was the only one of the patron saints who answered the prayers of the citizens of Palermo in the time of their greatest need. The sanctuary was constructed inside the cave on top of Mount Pellegrino to give thanks to Rosalia.
Saint Rosalia is honoured each July with a huge celebration that includes fireworks and a procession where her relics and statue are carried in a chariot through the city.
On September 4, the day it's believed that Rosalia died, pilgrims walk barefoot up Monte Pellegrino to pay homage to Rosalia's cave. Some even drop to their knees to climb the 80 or so steps that lead up to the Baroque-style sanctuary that frames the cave.
Best Time to Visit Mount Pellegrino
The best time to visit is in the evening. The sunset from Mount Pellegrino is extremely beautiful and the view towards the lighted-up Palermo city is a treat.
Tips for Visiting Mount Pellegrino
- If you are planning to go up by the top, be aware that the schedule of buses is rather sketchy. Sometimes you have to wait hours before one turns up. You can hike to the top with the same amount of waiting time.
- Follow the trail with the official markings or ask the locals before taking an unmarked trail. Google maps can show a lot of narrow paths but they are very dangerous.
Interesting Facts and Trivias About Mount Pellegrino
- In his book Travels in Italy, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described Mount Pellegrino as the most beautiful promontory in the world.
- The Castello Utveggio is a monumental palace built 1928–1933 at a promontory of Mount Pellegrino overlooking Palermo City.
- The symbol of Sicily with which the hiking path is marked is a little strange - a head with three legs surrounding it. There doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation for this symbol. It’s been around for so long it’s embraced by the locals without question.
- Saint Rosalia who was a hermit in one of the caves in Mount Pellegrino is now affectionately known as “La Santuzza” – the little saint.
How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Mount Pellegrino
From the starting point of the hike, it takes 1.5 hours to reach the top. It's slightly steep. Once at the top, you can enjoy visiting the sanctuary and walking to the many viewpoints. All in all, half a day is enough time to visit all Mount Pellegrino has to offer.
How to Reach Mount Pellegrino
From the Palermo city centre, it is an 8 KM hike to reach Mount Pellegrino by hiking. It will take about 2 hours in total. There is also a bus from the city to the top of the mount but the schedules are not the best.
Entrance Fee of Mount Pellegrino
There is no fee to enter Mount Pellegrino or the Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia.
Opening Hours of Mount Pellegrino
Mount Pellegrino is open 24 hours a day, every day. Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia at the mount is open from 9 AM to 6 PM (Monday to Saturday) and 8.30 AM to 6.30 PM on Sundays.
Attractions Near Mount Pellegrino
3.88km from Mount Pellegrino
Mondello is a district and tourist resort of Palermo which is part of the VII District , enclosed by Monte Pellegrino and Monte Gallo. The area is famous for its beach, which is one of the most coveted beaches of Sicily , for its many villas in the style Art Nouveau , known as the best expression of ' Art Nouveau in Italy, and the historical sites. It is home to the World Festival on the Beach .
Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas
5.62km from Mount Pellegrino
The "Antonino Salinas" Regional Archaeological Museum is a museum based in Palermo. It has one of the richest collections of archaeological d ' Italy and testimonies of Sicilian history in all its stages, ranging from prehistory to the Middle Ages. Inside are preserved the finds and artifacts of the peoples who determined the history of the island: Phoenicians, Punic, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, but also artifacts from other peoples such as the Egyptians and the Etruscans.
5.66km from Mount Pellegrino
Teatro Massimo, in Palermo, is the largest opera house in Italy, one of the largest in Europe and third in terms of architectural magnitude after the Opéra National in Paris and the Staatsoper of Vienna. Representative rooms, halls, galleries, and monumental stairways surround the actual theater, forming an architectural complex of enormous proportions.
Mercato del Capo
5.76km from Mount Pellegrino
Il Capo is an ancient and well-known district in the historic center of Palermo ; with the same term the people of Palermo also indicate the market held there and with which the neighborhood identifies itself. The Capo market, together with the other Palermo markets such as Ballarò , La Vucciria , Lattarini and the Flea Market , is an important retail agri-food outlet.
6.03km from Mount Pellegrino
La Vucciria is a well-known historical market in Palermo , together with others called Ballarò , Il Capo , Mercato delle Pulci and Lattarini. It extends between via Roma , La Cala , the Cassaro , along via Cassari, piazza del Garraffello, via Argenteria nuova, piazza Caracciolo and via Maccheronai, within the Castellammare district . Within the market area there are noble palaces and works of art such as Palazzo Mazzarino, which belonged to the family of the famous cardinal.
Castello della Zisa
6.12km from Mount Pellegrino
Zisa Castle was built in the 12th century by Arab craftsmen as a summer retreat for King William I of Sicily. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with handsome windows overlooking the gardens. The Zisa is clearly inspired by Moorish architecture. The name Zisa itself derives from the Arab term al-Azīz, meaning "dear" or "splendid". The same word, in Naskh script, is impressed in the entrance, according to the usual habit for the main Islamic edifices of the time.
Discover More Attractions in Sicily, Home of Mount Pellegrino
Sicily is the biggest island in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea, an amazing land rich in history and traditions, where art and culture intertwine with wonderful natural beauties. From the sea to the mountains and countryside, from the volcanos to the fishing villages, there are really many reasons why to visit Sicily. As Frederick II, King of Sicily, once said: “I don't envy God's paradise, because I'm well satisfied to live in Sicily”.
Location of Mount Pellegrino
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