Palermo's Archeological Museum is by far the most important one in Sicily considering not only the size but the importance of its permanent collections. The breathtaking Selinunte Greek metopes are among the finest in the world, while the vast collection of Greek vases and statuettes, and the bronze collection featuring a life-size ram by Lysippus, are rare treasures. Sadly, this museum is closed for a full renovation, both inside and out, of the 17th century ex-monastery that houses it.
It's been closed since July of this year and it probably won't re-open for at least another year. Instead, the city's most important art gallery has just re-opened: I'm talking about the Palazzo Abatellis Regional Art Gallery, which went through a three-year renovation.
Housed in a lovely late-15th century Catalan-Gothic palace, and put together in the 1950s by the famous Italian museum designer Carlo Scarpa, this gallery offers works by a number of medieval and Renaissance Sicilian painters and sculptors such as Antonello da Messina (his Annunciation is shown here), Francesco Laurana, Domenico and Antonello Gagini, and other painters later inspired by Caravaggio and Van Eyck, such as Pietro Novelli and Mattia Stomer.
This is a must-see if you want an in-depth look into Sicilian art history. Hours are:
Tuesday and Thursday 9 to 1 and then 2:30 to 6 PM.
Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 9 to 1.