The mighty Monte Pellegrino (‘Pilgrim’s Mountain’) towers over the Bay of Palermo. At 609 metres tall, the striking mountain separates Palermo from Mondello – Palermo’s local beach, and offers incredible panoramic views across the bay.
Many visitors to Palermo don’t visit Mont Pellegrino but it’s an absolute must visit when in the Sicilian capital! Here is all you need to know about Monte Pellegrino in Palermo!
The views from the mountain overlooking Palermo are spectacular, and it’s not just me that thinks so. The German poet Goethe described Monte Pellegrino as “the most beautiful promontory in the world”.
Seeing the sprawling city from above in one direction, and the affluent beachside suburb of Mondello to the other side, surrounded by mountain and the sea is incredible.
Atop Monte Pellegrino you’ll also find the shrine (Santuario) to Santa Rosalia – the Patron Saint of Palermo.
Rosalia was born into a noble Aristocratic Norman family in Palermo, but she rejected her roots and went to live on top of this mountain in a cave until she died in 1170.
During her life she performed many miracles, and her shrine now lies in this cave where she used to live.
Santa Rosalia is loved by all those living in Palermo as she saved Palermo from a deadly plague in the early 17th Century when she is said to have reappeared and told a hunter where her remains could be found.
The hunter then had the job of bringing Rosalia’s bones to Palermo and parading them through the city in a procession, after which – the plague ended and she then became Palermo’s Patron Saint.
The remains of Santa Rosalia now lie in Palermo Cathedral.
Every year on the 15th July Santa Rosalia is celebrated across the city with a giant celebration, street parade and fireworks.
Sunset At Monte Pellegrino
Monte Pellegrino is also the best place to watch the sunset in Palermo, the sunsets from here are incredible!
If you visit on a Sunday, Monte Pellegrino is full of Palermitani (locals from Palermo) coming for picnics and to enjoy the views from the top of Monte Pellegrino, as well as to pay their respects to Santa Rosalia.
If you wish to join the crowds to watch the sunset, visit on a Sunday, otherwise go on a weekday if you wish to escape the crowds. It can often get windy on the top of Monte Pellegrino so remember to bring a jacket!
How To Get To Monte Pellegrino From Palermo:
Monte Pellegrino can be easily reached on the local bus from the centre of Palermo in 30 minutes. The bus takes you all the way up the winding road to the Santuario di Santa Rosalia (Shine of Santa Rosalia), approximately 9 miles away.
The road is narrow with lots of switchbacks, and you’ll also pass Castello Utveggio on the way up. This palace, perched on the edge of the cliff was once a luxury hotel and even hosted Pope John Paul II on his 1995 visit to Palermo.
If you fancy keeping fit and it’s not too hot, you can also walk up the mountain – there is a walking path.