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Visit History in your Italy rental car

For your next Italian vacation, take a break from mainland and fly directly into Palermo Airport on the island of Sicily. As a city founded in 734 B.C., you can count on Palermo to have beautiful historic architecture and breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Most everything is within 20 to 30 miles from the Palermo Airport and there is a lot to see and do. We recommend you get in your Thrifty rental car and buckle up — because you’re in for a wild ride.

Cappella Palatina                                                             

Designed by Roger II in 1130, the Cappella Palatina chapel is without question Palermo’s top tourist attraction — and for good reason. Every inch is inlaid with precious stones. The jewels are complemented by stunning gold mosaics crafted by Byzantine Greek artisans. Even the floors are priceless works of art — intricately carved fine Italian marble. You can reach the Cappella Palatina in about 20-30 minutes from the airport. (It’s only a 20-mile drive.) Before you depart, bring along a change of clothes in your Palermo rental car, as the church does not allow guests to wear shorts, short skirts or low-cut tops.

Piazza Pretoria

This beautiful town square was once referred to as “The Fountain of Shame,” back in the early 1500s when Palermo municipalities were very corrupt. Ironically, it’s anything but shameful to look at. Designed by Florentine sculptor, Francesco Camilliani, the fountain is a monumental achievement, overlooking facades of the Santa Caterina and San Giuseppe del Teatini churches. The fountain itself is adorned with depictions of allegories, animal heads, nymphs, monsters, ornamental staircases and balustrades and numbers of gods and goddesses from Mount Olympus. You can easily get to Piazza Pretoria from Palermo Airport in your Thrifty rental car — it’s only 21 miles away. And keep in mind, there is no “shame” in just doing a drive-by if you are short on time.

Mercato di Ballaro

Want to mix a little shopping into your sightseeing itinerary? The Mercado di Ballaro is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir at a rock-bottom price. It is Palermo’s busiest street market and known as the cheapest place to buy just about anything you’re looking for. From Chinese padded bras to fresh produce and fish, meat, olives and cheese. The market, established in 1827, is just 21 miles from the Palermo Airport. The market is for pedestrians only, so make sure you get a good parking spot for your Palermo rental car … and be sure to make a note of your location. The market is HUGE and it’s easy to get lost in the excitement of bartering.