Palermo is a city of Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
History and General Information on Palermo
The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz or flower. Palermo then became a possession of Carthage, before becoming part of the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire and eventually part of the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. The Greeks named the city Panormus meaning ‘complete port’. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city first became a capital. The Arabs shifted the Greek name into Balarm, the root for Palermo’s present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom (from 1130 to 1816), the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II Holy Roman Emperor and Conrad IV of Germany, King of the Romans. Eventually Sicily would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860. The population of Palermo urban area is estimated to be the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, poetically, panormiti. The languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language, Sicilian language and the Palermitano dialect.
What to Do and See in Palermo
Palermo is a vibrant, alive city with great depth of history. The city also boasts the most UNERSCO World Heritage sites on Italy. Whether historical views or relaxing beach getaways, Palermo offer it all to visiting guests.
- Cathedral – honey-colored and Catalan influenced. Frederick II, Barbarossa’s son, died in 1250 and is buried here, far from his ancestral home above Hohenstaufen, Germany. Frederick’s sarcophagus is of porphyry dyed with imperial purple.
- Quattro Canti – the symbolic crossroads at the old centre of the city, built during the period of the Irish rule to represent the four proud provinces of Ireland, and the nearby small, but pretty La Martorana church with byzantine mosaics inside.
- Catacombe dei Cappuccini – the catacombs of the Capuchin convent located on the Piazza Cappuccini, just west of the city centre, contain over 8000 mummified ex-residents from Palermo and its surrounding villages, some merely clothed skeletons, other remarkably well-preserved and lifelike. Well worth a visit, interesting, if slightly morbid. Children may either find it exciting or terrifying and it must be the responsibility of their parents to think carefully before taking them.
- Street Markets – especially near the Piazza del Carmine and Vucciria. At the Ballaro there is a huge variety of fresh fruits and seafood on offer.
- The Church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi – the recently re-opened Favara Castle at the beginning of the magnificent panoramic road towards the historic location of the Gibilrossa hill, topped by an obelisk dedicated to the Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, where you can get an amazing view over the whole Palermo’s gulf from a platform -follow the directions towards the town of Belmonte Mezzagno, through wonderful orange and tangerine orchards] are the main sights of the part of the city beyond the river Oreto.
Customized Vacations, Italy – Why Bellarome Italian Vacations
Bellarome Italian Vacations is the best luxury travel agent for tailor-made Italian vacations. Whether you are traveling as a single person, a newlywed couple, or with a small or large group of students, friends or colleagues, or you are planning Italy family vacations, simply let us know your requirements and we will gladly take care of all of your needs. Bellarome Italian Vacations offers personalized Italian vacations, all -inclusive Italy vacations, and to suit all of your needs and preferences. We are a team of experts native to the region with over 20 years of experience of travel and tourism in Italy and luxury travel vacations. We cannot wait to help you plan your luxurious Italian vacations. With Bellarome, all you need to do is relax and enjoy your amazing Italian vacations! Whether you’re staying for the weekend or a few weeks, we will make sure that you have the best Italian vacations packages.