PALERMO

Italy

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.

Info Palermo

introduction

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.

The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz ('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 cityPanormus 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 by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 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.

Palermo is Sicily's cultural, economic and touristic capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music.  Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services, commerce and agriculture.  Palermo currently has an international airport, and a significantunderground economy. In fact, for cultural, artistic and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe. It is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. The city is also going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Roman Catholicism is highly important in Palermitano culture. The Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia whose Feast Day is celebrated on 15 July. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is widely known for its colourful fruit, vegetable and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known asVucciria, Ballarò and Capo.

info
POPULATION :676,118 (city)
1,300,000 (metro)
FOUNDED :  736 BC
TIME ZONE :• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
LANGUAGE :  Italian (official)
RELIGION : Roman Catholic
AREA : 158.9 km2 (61.4 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 14 m (46 ft)
COORDINATES : 38°07′N 13°22′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 48.6%
 Female: 51.4%
ETHNIC : Italian
AREA CODE : 091
POSTAL CODE : 90100
DIALING CODE :  +39 91
WEBSITE :www.comune.palermo.it

Tourism

Capital of Sicily, founded by Phoenicians under the name of "Ziz" (= Flower, but the meaning is still doubtful), later renamed by Greeks "Panormos" which means "all port", it reached its golden age during the Arab domination (IX-XI centuries A.C.) when it became one of the most prosperous cities in the Mediterranean and Europe, known as "city of delights" for its marvelous and lavish gardens, as well as for magnificent mosques and palaces. After being conquered by the Normans (1060-1080 A.C.), most of palaces and mosques were destroyed, but the new rulers exploited the cosmopolitan environment of Palermo and the artists, architects and masters from different cultural roots giving the birth to a unique architectural style, the so-called "Arab-Norman Style of Sicily", which is an original mixture of arabesque decorations, Romanesque architecture and Byzantine mosaics. After being home to one of the most famous Emperors of the Middle Ages, Frederik II fo Swabi, named "Stupor Mundi" by contemporaries, Palermo began its decadence under the influence of several dominations (French, Aragonians, Spanish and Borbons from Naples. In the mid of XIX century, during the so-called "Italian Risorgimento" Palermo was one the leading revolutionary cities in Italy, strongly contributing to the success of the "Mille" (literally "one thousand") patriots' expedition lead by the famous Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi which ended with the reunification of Italy under the Savoy dynasty from Turin (1860). Nowadays Palermo faces several problems affecting its economic development, mainly because of the presence of the very powerful criminal organization known worldwide as "Mafia" or "Cosa Nostra". The city's economy is based on local government institutions, port, shipbuilding industry and the mechanical industry. It is also seat to some important Sicilian wine making companies (like Tasca d'Almerita, Duca di Salaparuta, Corvo, Planeta, etc.) whose popularity in the world is growing.

History

Early history

Evidence of human settlement in the area now known as Palermo goes back to at least the Mesolithic period, perhaps around 8000 BC, where a group of cave drawings at nearby Addaura from that period have been found. The original inhabitants were Sicani people who, according to Thucydides, arrived from the Iberian Peninsula(perhaps Catalonia).


Ancient period

During 734 BC the Phoenicians, a sea trading people from the north of ancient Canaan, built a small settlement on the natural harbor of Palermo. Some sources suggest they named the settlement "Ziz." It became one of the three main Phoenician colonies of Sicily, along with Motya and Soluntum. However, the remains of the Phoenician presence in the city are few and mostly preserved in the very populated center of the downtown area, making any excavation efforts costly and logistically difficult. The site chosen by the Phoenicians made it easy to connect the port to the mountains with a straight road that today has become Corso Calatifimi. This road helped the Phoenicians in trading with the populations that lived beyond the mountains that surround the gulf.

The first settlement is defined as Paleapolis (Παλεάπολις), the Ancient Greek world for "old city", in order to distinguish it from a second settlement built during the 5th century BC, called Neapolis (Νεάπολις), "new city". The neapolis was erected towards the east and along with it, monumental walls around the whole settlement were built to prevent attacks from foreign threats. Some part of this structure can still be seen in the Cassaro district. This district was named after the walls themselves; the word Cassaro deriving from the Arab al-qsr (castle, stronghold). Along the walls there were few doors to access and exit the city, suggesting that trade even toward the inner part of the island occurred frequently. Moreover, according to some studies, it may be possible that there were some walls that divided the old city from the new one too. The colony developed around a central street (decumanus), cut perpendicularly by minor streets. This street today has become the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

Carthage was Palermo’s major trading partner under the Phoenicians and the city enjoyed a prolonged peace during this period. Palermo came into contact with the Ancient Greeks between the 6th and the 5th centuries BC which preceded the Sicilian Wars, a conflict fought between the Greeks of Syracuse and the Phoenicians of Carthage for control over the island of Sicily. During this war the Greeks named the settlement Panormos (Πάνορμος) from which the current name is derived, meaning "all port" due to the shape of its coast. It was from Palermo that Hamilcar I's fleet (which was defeated at the Battle of Himera) was launched. In 409 B.C. the city was looted by Hermocrates of Syracuse. The Sicilian Wars ended in 265 BC when Carthage and Syracuse stopped warring and united in order to stop the Romans from gaining full control of the island during the First Punic War. In 276 BC, during the Pyrrhic War, Panormos briefly became a Greek colony after being conquered by Pyrrhus of Epirus, but returned to Phoenician Carthage in 275. In 254 BC Panormos was besieged and conquered by the Romans in the first battle of Panormus (the name Latin name). Carthage attempted to reconquer Panormus in 251 BC but failed.


Middle Ages

As the Roman Empire was falling apart, Palermo fell under the control of severalGermanic tribes. The first were the Vandals in 440 AD under the rule of their king Geiseric. The Vandals had occupied all the Roman provinces in North Africa by 455 establishing themselves as a significant force. They acquired Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily shortly afterwards. However, they soon lost these newly acquired possessions to the Ostrogoths. The Ostrogothic conquest under Theodoric the Great began in 488; Theodoric supported Roman culture and government unlike the Germanic Goths. The Gothic War took place between the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire. Sicily was the first part of Italy to be taken under control of General Belisarius who was commissioned by Eastern Emperor. Justinian I solidified his rule in the following years.

The Muslims took control of the Island in 904, and the Emirate of Sicily was established. Muslim rule on the island lasted for about 120 years . Palermo (Balarm during Arab rule) displaced Syracuse as the capital city of Sicily. It was said to have then begun to compete with Córdoba and Cairo in terms of importance and splendor.  For more than one hundred years Palermo was the capital of a flourishing emirate.  The Arabs also introduced many agriculturalcrops which remain a mainstay of Sicilian cuisine.

After dynastic quarrels however, there was a Christian reconquest in 1072. The family who returned the city toChristianity were called the Hautevilles, including Robert Guiscard and his army, who is regarded as a hero by the natives. It was under Roger II of Sicilythat Norman holdings in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian Peninsula were promoted from the County of Sicily into the Kingdom of Sicily. The Kingdom's capital was Palermo, with the King's Court held at the Palazzo dei Normanni. Much construction was undertaken during this period, such as the building of Palermo Cathedral. The Kingdom of Sicily became one of the wealthiest states in Europe.

Sicily fell under the control of the Holy Roman Empire in 1194. Palermo was the preferred city of the Emperor Frederick II. Muslims of Palermo emigrated or were expelled during Holy Roman rule. After an interval of Angevin rule (1266–1282), Sicily came under control of the Aragon and Barcelona dynasties. By 1330, Palermo's population had declined to 51,000. From 1479 until 1713 Palermo was ruled by the Kingdom of Spain, and again between 1717 and 1718. Palermo was also under Savoy control between 1713 and 1717 and 1718–1720 as a result of the Treaty of Utrecht. It was also ruled by Austria between 1720 and 1734.


Two Sicilies

After the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), Sicily was handed over to the Savoia, but by 1734 it was in Bourbon possession. Charles III chose Palermo for his coronation as King of Sicily. Charles had new houses built for the growing population, while trade and industry grew as well. However, by now Palermo was now just another provincial city as the Royal Court resided in Naples. Charles' son Ferdinand, though disliked by the population, took refuge in Palermo after the French Revolution in 1798. His son Alberto died on the way to Palermo and is buried in the city. When the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was founded, the original capital city was Palermo (1816) but a year later moved to Naples.

From 1820 to 1848 Sicily was shaken by upheavals, which culminated on 12 January 1848, with a popular insurrection, the first one in Europe that year, led by Giuseppe La Masa. A parliament and constitution were proclaimed. The first president was Ruggero Settimo. The Bourbons reconquered Palermo in 1849, and remained under their rule until the time of Giuseppe Garibaldi. The famous general entered Palermo with his troops (the “Thousands”) on 27 May 1860. After theplebiscite later that year Palermo, along with the rest of Sicily, became part of the new Kingdom of Italy (1861).


Italian unification and today

The majority of Sicilians preferred independence to the Savoia kingdom; in 1866, Palermo became the seat of a week-long popular rebellion, which was finally crushed after Martial law was declared. The Italian government blamed anarchists and the Church, specifically the Archbishop of Palermo, for the rebellion and began enacting anti-Sicilian and anti-clerical policies. A new cultural, economic and industrial growth was spurred by several families, like the Florio, the Ducrot, the Rutelli, theSandron, the Whitaker, the Utveggio, and others. In the early twentieth century, Palermo expanded outside the old city walls, mostly to the north along the new boulevards Via Roma, Via Dante, Via Notarbartolo, and Viale della Libertà. These roads would soon boast a huge number of villas in the Art Nouveau style. Many of these were designed by the famous architect Ernesto Basile. The Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, designed by Ernesto Basile for the Florio family, is a good example of Palermitan Art Nouveau. The huge Teatro Massimo was designed in the same period by Giovan Battista Filippo Basile, and built by the Rutelli & Machì building firm of the industrial and old Rutelli Italian family in Palermo, and was opened in 1897.

During the Second World War, Palermo was untouched until the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. In July, the harbour and the surrounding quarters were heavily bombed by the Allied forces and were all but destroyed.

In 1946 the city was declared the seat of the Regional Parliament, as capital of a Special Status Region (1947) whose seat is in the Palazzo dei Normanni.

A theme in the city's modern age has been the struggle against the Mafia, Red Brigades and outlaws such as Salvatore Giuliano, who controlled the neighbouring area of Montelepre. The Italian state effectively has had to share control of the territory, economically and administratively, with the Mafia.

The so-called "Sack of Palermo" is one of the major visible faces of the problem. The term is used to indicate the speculative building practices that have filled the city with poor buildings, mainly during the 1950s to the 1980s. The reduced importance of agriculture in the Sicilian economy has led to a massive migration to the cities, especially Palermo, which swelled in size, leading to rapid expansion towards the north. The regulatory plans for expansion was largely ignored in the boom. New parts of town appeared almost out of nowhere, but without parks, schools, public buildings, proper roads and the other amenities that characterise a modern city.

Climate

Palermo experiences a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa). Winters are cool and wet, while summers are hot and dry. Temperatures in autumn and spring are usually mild. Palermo is one of the warmest cities in Europe (mainly due to its warm nights), with an average annual air temperature of 18.5 °C (65.3 °F). It receives approximately 2,530 hours of sunshine per year. Snow is usually a rare occurrence, but it does occur occasionally if there is a cold front, as the Apennines are too distant to protect the island from cold winds blowing from the Balkans, and the mountains surrounding the city facilite the formation of snow accumulation in Palermo, especially at night. Between the 1940s and the 2000s there have been eleven times when considerable snowfall has occurred.In 1949 and in 1956, when the minimum temperature went down to 0 °C (32 °F), the city was blanketed by several centimeters of snow.  Snowfall also occurred in 1999, 2009 and 2015. The average annual temperature of the sea is above 19 °C (66 °F); from 14 °C (57 °F) in February to 26 °C (79 °F) in August. In the period from May to November, the average sea temperature exceeds 18 °C (64 °F) and in the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds 21 °C (70 °F).

Climate data for Palermo

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)14.7
(58.5)
14.5
(58.1)
16.4
(61.5)
18.7
(65.7)
23.3
(73.9)
27.2
(81)
29.8
(85.6)
30.5
(86.9)
27.5
(81.5)
23.5
(74.3)
19.0
(66.2)
15.8
(60.4)
21.8
(71.2)
Daily mean °C (°F)11.8
(53.2)
11.5
(52.7)
13.0
(55.4)
15.1
(59.2)
19.3
(66.7)
23.2
(73.8)
25.8
(78.4)
26.6
(79.9)
23.8
(74.8)
20.1
(68.2)
16.0
(60.8)
13.0
(55.4)
18.3
(64.9)
Average low °C (°F)8.9
(48)
8.5
(47.3)
9.6
(49.3)
11.4
(52.5)
15.3
(59.5)
19.2
(66.6)
21.7
(71.1)
22.7
(72.9)
20.1
(68.2)
16.7
(62.1)
12.9
(55.2)
10.2
(50.4)
14.8
(58.6)
              
Source: Servizio Meteorologico

Geography

Palermo lies in a basin, formed by the Papireto, Kemonia and Oreto rivers. The basin was named the Conca d'Oro (the Golden Basin) by the Arabs in the 9th century. The city is surrounded by a mountain range which is named after the city itself. These mountains face the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is home to a natural port and offers excellent views to the sea, especially from Monte Pellegrino.

Topography

Palermo is surrounded by mountains, formed of calcar, which form a cirque around the city. Some districts of the city are divided by the mountains themselves. Historically, it was relatively difficult to reach the inner part of Sicily from the city because of the mounts. The tallest peak of the range is La Pizzuta, about 1,333 m (4,373 ft.) high. However, historically, the most important mount is Monte Pellegrino, which is geographically separated from the rest of the range by a plain. The mount lies right in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Monte Pellegrino's cliff was described in the 19th century by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as "The most beautiful promontory in the world", in his essay "Italian Journey".

Rivers

Today both the Papireto river and the Kemonia are covered up by buildings. However, the shape of the former watercourses can still be recognised today, because the streets that were built on them follow their shapes. Today the only waterway not drained yet is the Oreto river that divides the downtown of the city from the western uptown and the industrial districts. In the basins there were, though, many seasonal torrents that helped formed swampy plains, reclaimed during history; a good example of which can be found in the borough of Mondello.

Economy

Being Sicily's administrative capital, Palermo is a centre for much of the region's finance, tourism and commerce. The city currently hosts an international airport,  and Palermo's economic growth over the years has brought the opening of many new businesses. The economy mainly relies on tourism and services, but also has commerce, shipbuilding and agriculture.  The city, however, still has high unemployment levels, high corruption and a significant black market empire (Palermo being the home of the Sicilian Mafia). Even though the city still suffers from widespread corruption, inefficient bureaucracy and organized crime, the level of crime in Palermo's has gone down dramatically, unemployment has been decreasing and many new, profitable opportunities for growth (especially regarding tourism) have been introduced, making the city safer and better to live in.

Subdivisions
MunicipalityQuarters
IKalsa, Albergheria, Seralcadio & La Loggia
IISettecannoli, Brancaccio &Ciaculli-Oreto
IIIVillagrazia-Falsomiele & Stazione-Oreto
IVMontegrappa, S. Rosalia,Cuba, Calafatimi, Mezzomonreale, Villa Tasca-Altarello & Boccadifalco
VZisa, Noce, Uditore-Passo di Rigano & Borgo Nuovo
VICruillas, S. Giovanni Apostolo, Resuttana & San Lorenzo
VIIPallavicino, Tommaso Natale, Sferracavallo, Partanna Mondello, Arenella, Vergine Maria & San Filippo Neri (formerly known as ZEN)
VIIIPoliteama, Malaspina-Palagonia, Libertà & Monte Pellegrino

Internet, Comunication

Internet

  • Internet Shop. Via Napoli N, 32. Tel: +39 091 584146. 13 computers, E2.5/hour. Wireless internet.
  • Mediapoint Via Maqueda 221, tel:+39 091 6113332. close to 4CANTI, 4c/min. Picture backup in CD or DVD, memory cards available.
  • Aboriginal Internet Cafe, Via S. Spinuzza 51, close to Teatro Massimo, Tel: +39 091 6622229, [www] . Also serves beer and drinks with obscene names.

Prices in Singapore

PRICES LIST - EUR

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.84
Tomatoes1 kg€1.10
Cheese0.5 kg€5.40
Apples1 kg€1.10
Oranges1 kg€1.10
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.30
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€4.00
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.77
Bread1 piece€1.05
Water1.5 l€0.44

PRICES LIST - EUR

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€30.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€50.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€7.00
Water0.33 l€1.35
Cappuccino1 cup€1.25
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€3.25
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€3.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l€1.85
Coctail drink1 drink€8.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€16.00
Gym1 month€50.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€11.00
Theatar2 tickets€62.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.17
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€5.10

PRICES LIST - EUR

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€8.00
Tampons32 pieces€4.00
Deodorant50 ml.€3.25
Shampoo400 ml.€2.20
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.70
Toothpaste1 tube€1.50

PRICES LIST - EUR

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€72.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€26.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€70.00
Leather shoes1€80.00

PRICES LIST - EUR

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.49
TaxiStart
Taxi1 km
Local Transport1 ticket€1.40

Tourist (Backpacker)  

54 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

214 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Palermo International Airport (IATA: PMO) is located some 32 km west of the city at Punta Raisi and has flights incoming from other Italian centres and major European cities on a regular basis. Half hourly shuttle buses, on the :00 and :30, (operated by Prestia e Comandè) provide inexpensive transport into the city centre train station (€6.10, as of November 2012). Purchase bus ticket from the ticket office next to the bus at the airport. From city centre to the airport, purchase ticket from the driver. There are 1-2 trains per hour, 50 minutes, €5.80 (destination Punta Raisi). The usual taxi and car rental services are also available at the airport.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Through trains from Rome and Naples via the train ferry across the Messina straits.

Transportation - Get In

By ferry

Ferries steam between the port of Palermo and the following Italian ports on a regular basis: Genoa, Civitàvecchia, Naples, Malta (Valletta) and Cagliari(Sardinia).

 


Transportation - Get Around

Transportation - Get Around

On foot

Although Palermo is a fair-sized city, most of the interesting sites around the centre can easily be reached on foot.

Transportation - Get Around

By bus

Get a 24 hour ticket for €4. Many buses run on Via Roma. To go to Pl Indipendenza take bus 109 from the station.

 

Hotels

- BEST RATED -

Hotels

- BEST VALUE -

Shopping

  • Isola Saporita,  +39 091 6527506. Corso Vittorio Emanuele 504 (opposite the cathedral). Good selection of wine, oil, marmalade, sauces, etc.
  • The "Pizzo free" shops are a group of shopkeepeers that refuse to pay the racket to the Mafia. The Palermitan consumers sustain them by going shopping in their stores. These shops are easily recognisable by a sticker in the shop/restaurant window. You can find the list here: [www] . If you'd prefer your whole trip to be "pizzo-free" there is a special website for travelers here: [www]
  • Mercato di BallaròVia Ballarò, Piazze de Carmine. Mon, Tue, Thu to Sat 7-20, Wed 7-13. Busy food market in Albergheria.
  • La Coppola StortaVia Bara all'Olivella 74,  +39 091324428. This cap, originally of Sicilian peasants and later of the Mafia, has become a stylish accessory.

Restaurants

  • Antica Focacceria S. FrancescoVia A Paternostro, 58 (In the small piazza in front front of S. Francecso church). 11am to 3.30 pm, 5,30 to 11.30 pm. A deservedly popular top quality restaurant serving fine Sicilian food in the open air. Bookings recommended at weekends. Main courses €15, fast food €5.
  • Il Proverbio,  +39 091 6173267. Via Discesa 24. Close to station and Quattro Canti. Great Sicilian food, most dishes are €4-6.
  • Al Chioschetto. Pz. Indipendenza Di Fronte N. 31. Close to the new gate. Excellent fresh panini and salads. They keep all the ingredients in a cooled glass counter, makes the panini from scratch when you order, using only freshly cut pieces of meat.
  • Le pergamenePiazza Marina 48 (near of the Palazzo chiaramonte steri), +39 091 6166142.
  • Pizza GaetanoVia XII Gennaio, 1/Q,  +39 091 6014544. Authentic pizza and pasta dishes. Not touristy at all. $.
  • Pipi RoomV. XX Settembre 59. Antipasto, pizzas, etc. $.
  • Antico Caffé SpinnatoVia Principe di Belmonte 107/115,  +39 091329220.
  • Osteria dei VespriPiazza Croce dei Vespri 6,  +39 091617631. Mon to Sat 12-15, 18-24.
  • Paticceria CapelloVia Nicolo Garzili 10,  +39 0916113769. Thu to Tue 7-22, Wed closed
  • Pasticceria CapelloVia Colonna Rotta 58,  +39 091489601. Thu to Tue 7-22, Wed closed.
  • Trattoria al Piccolo NapoliPiazetta Mulino a Vento 4,  +39 091320431.

Sights & Landmarks

Because of its variety of monuments, attesting to its long and rich history, and the number of other cultural and naturalistic attractions, Palermo can offer a very interesting experience to the visitor interested in exploring it. The Cathedral of Monreale, the Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel, the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, the Church of San Catalado, the Palermo Cathedral, the Zisa Palace and the Admiral’s Bridge, comprise together with the cathedral in Cefalù the world heritage site“Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale”.

  • Cathedral. Honey-coloured 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 and the nearby small, but pretty La Martorana church with Byzantine mosaics inside.
  • Museo Archeologico.
  • Catacombe dei Cappuccini, open daily 9AM-12 noon and 3PM-6PM, entrance is €3 - 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. You can arrive via the new tram line that opened in 2015 and a 10- to 15-minute walk. Your visit will not take longer than one hour.
  • Palazzo dei Normanni. Inside, don't miss the mosaics in the Cappella Palatina and the old Royal Apartments
  • street markets, especially near the Piazza del Carmine and Vucciria. At the Ballaro there is a huge variety of fresh fruits on offer.
  • Piazza Garraffello near Vucciria on Friday nights a DJ is playing open air if the weather is good. Huge crowd dancing. There are also lots of bars right next to the square.
  • Piazza Pretoria, including the Fontana Pretoria
  • The Gesu Church is one of the most architecturally important in Palermo. Constructed between 1564–1633, it's late date of completion resulted in an abundant use of polychrome marbles on both floors and walls. This form of decoration, which gradually evolved in Sicily from the beginning of the 17th century, was a mark of the beginning of the Sicilian Baroque period, which was to give Sicily almost an architectural national identity. Note that it the church has a modest facade and is hidden in back street in central Palermo, unlike the great cathedral this one you have too look for.
  • San Giovanni degli Eremiti+39 91 6515019. Via dei Bernadetti. Old church ruin and nice garden. The €6 admission ensures that the lovely garden is quiet and peaceful. Open mo-sa 9AM-7PM.
  • Cappella Palatina,  +39 091 7054317. Piazza Indipendenza. Chapel with mosaics. It's one of the artistic gems of Palermo, magnificent mosaics and Arabian-style decorations, among the most beautiful in the world. Open mo-fr 9-11. 45AM and 3-4:45PM. Sa 9-11:45AM. Su 9-9:45AM, 12-12:45PM.
  • The Zisa and the Cuba, Arabic-Norman royal palaces. The Zisa is in Piazza Zisa; the Cuba in Corso Calatafimi.
  • Monreale - a village/suburb 8 km west of Palermo, sitting on the hill with a great view back towards the city and the sea. Be sure to visit the Duomo (Cathedral) and its cloisters too.

Safety in Palermo

Stay Safe

Beware of pickpockets and motorcycle-riding snatch thieves targeting handbags, wallets and mobile phones.

Women should not walk alone at night in the historical centre of Palermo and travellers could be wary of La Kalsa, the neighborhood between Via Roma and the water, at night. The area is being renewed and gentrified, but is probably still one of the riskier places to be at night.

Vehicle theft is a major problem in Palermo, so the use of private, secure car parks is to be preferred.

Avoid going outside the city center, except for Mondello (beach and clubs), Sferracavallo (great restaurants), Monreale.

High / 7.8

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 5.5

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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