Palermo: The city

This is an excerpt from the book “Sicily”.

Sicilian Nobles
Sicilian Nobles – Photo © Luciana Coletti -*Elle*

Palermo is the regional capital of Sicily, which is the largest and most heavily populated (about 5,000,000) island in the Mediterranean.

The area has been under numerous dominators over the centuries, including Roman, Carthaginian, Byzantine, Greek, Arab, Norman, Swabian and Spanish masters.

Due to this past, to the cultural exchange that for millennia has taken place in the area, the city is still an exotic mixture of many cultures.

Many of the monuments still exist giving the city somewhat unique appearance.

Monreale Fontana del Tritone
Monreale – Fontana del Tritone
Photo © Basso Gianluca

The city of Palermo, including the province of Palermo, has around 1,300,000 inhabitants and has about 200 Km of coastline.

The old town of Palermo is one of the largest in Europe, full of references to the past.

Palermo reflects the diverse history of the region in that the city contains many masterpieces from different periods, including Romanesque, gothic, renaissance and baroque architecture as well as examples of modern art.

Fruit at the market – Photo © Luciana Coletti -*Elle*

The city also hosts it’s rich vegetation of palm trees, prickly pears, bananas, lemon trees and so on.

The abundance of exotic species was also noticed by the world-famous German writer Goethe who in April 1787 visited the newly opened botanical gardens, describing them as “the most beautiful place on earth”.

The patron saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia, who is still widely venerated.

Santa Rosalia

On the 14th of July, people in Palermo celebrate the “Festino”, which is the most important religious event of the year.

The Festino is a procession in the main street of Palermo to remember the miracle attributed to Santa Rosalia who, it is believed, freed the city from the Black Death in 1624.

The cave where the bones of Santa Rosalia were discovered is on Monte Pellegrino: when her relics were carried around the city three times, the plague was lifted. There is a Santuario marking the spot and can be reached via a scenic bus ride from the city below.

Where to stay in Palermo

There are hotels, B&Bs, villas and apartments available, check them out and make a reservation here.