Of all the museums in Palermo, the Archaeological Museum is probably the most interesting. This list is not exhaustive but gives a brief description of the most important and famous museums in the city.
Galleria Nazionale della Sicilia
A big part of the collection of the Galleria Nazionale della Sicilia consists of works of art from banned monastic orders. On the first floor are 12th century wooden inlays, along with 13th and 14th century sculptures. The enormous fresco “Triumph of Death” from Palazzo Sclafani is on display in Room II. (Via Alloro, 2)
Museum of Islamic Art
Opened in 1991, the Museo dell’Arte Islamica is housed in the Castello della Zisa. The collection consists of Islamic artifacts from Sicily and the rest of the Mediterranean. The time span extends from the 9th to the 12th century, roughly the era of Arab domination on the island. The period after this, when the Normans ruled, is also well represented.
Galleria d’Arte Moderna Sant’Anna
The collection of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna Sant’Anna (GAM for short) is spread over two merged historic buildings and a third palace. These are the baroque, former Monastery of St. Francis and the Palazzo Bonet. On the first floor of Palazzo Ziino, one can visit the gipsoteca, with plaster reproductions of marble and bronze sculptures. (Via Sant’Anna, 2)
Museo Archeologico Regionale Antonio Salinas
The Archaeological Museum of Palermo has one of the best collections of Greek, Carthaginian and Sicilian art. It is dedicated to local archaeologist and coin collector Antonio Salinas. The building is part of the monumental Olivella complex, which also includes the Sant’Ignazio Church and its Oratory.
Modern and Contemporary Art Museum
The Modern and Contemporary Art Museum has been housed in the Palazzo Belmonte Riso since 2008. It was founded with the intention of bringing to light modern Sicilian Art. (Via Vittorio Emanuele, 365.)
Museo d’Arte e Archeologia Ignazio Mormino
The “Museum of Art and Archaeology Ignazio Mormino” is housed in the Villa Zito, built in the 18th century. A large part of the collection consists of a large collection of ceramics from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. There is also a library and a section devoted to philately. In the latter, antique printed matter from the time of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies is on display, along with maps, stamps and old city plans of Sicilian towns (16th to 18th centuries. The collection of paintings is mostly from the 19th century. (Via della Libertà)
Museum of the Sea
Opened in 1997, the Museo del Mare is housed in the city’s former Arsenal. The rectangular building itself was constructed between 1621 and 1630. Highlights are the portolans, books that described how best to reach the various ports. Also on display are scale models of various ships, as well as two cannons from the late 18th century. (Via Cristoforo Colombo, 142).
The Museo del Costume Raffaele Piraino has about three thousand costumes for both men and women. Among them are military uniforms and priest’s robes, as well as children’s clothing. A highlight is formed by the wedding suits and costumes from various countries around the Mediterranean. (Via dell’Università, 54)
Museo del Risorgimento
The Museo del Risorgimento Vittorio Emanuele Orlando is housed in the former San Domenico Convent. Constructed in the 16th century, this building is located in the center of Palermo. The collection is dedicated to the Unification of Italy and Garibaldi’s expedition in Sicily. (Piazza San Domenico, 1.)