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Mondello in Palermo, Bild: Aleksandar Todorovic / shutterstock

Palermo, the impressive capital of Sicily

Sicily, a paradise surrounded by three seas. This beautiful island is best known for its crystal clear waters, its tasty wines and its majestic volcanoes. During a holiday on the Emerald Isle, a visit to the capital Palermo is an indispensable part.

The history of the city of Palermo

Palermo Cathedral
Palermo Cathedral, Image: Romas_Photo / shutterstock

Under the Phoenicians, the former trading city was founded in the 8th century and has an enormous number of different rulers. In addition to the Normans, Arab rulers also had an influence on the city and thus also on the architecture and economy. From 1861 under the rule of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the island belonged to the Kingdom of Italy.

He ordered the construction of many important squares, buildings and churches. But the influence of the Arabs has also left its mark and so there are several churches in the Arab-Norman style. These are clearly recognizable by their striking red colored domes, which are reminiscent of Islamic art. After this time, the Sicilian mafia took over the city and threw it into a seemingly endless war. But there are hardly any traces of that today. The Mafia has largely been suppressed and Palermo has even been voted the cultural capital of Italy. Statistics even show that Palermo is the safest city in all of Italy and therefore definitely a great destination for everyone.

Attractions in Palermo

Cathedral
Palermo Cathedral, Image: Petr Jilek / shutterstock

With more than 600,000 inhabitants in the city centre and over a million inhabitants in the metropolitan region, Palermo is considered the largest city in Sicily and therefore has a lot to offer. The city is perfect for all those who can never get enough of castles, museums, squares and historical buildings and enjoy the wonderful temperatures. Because it is not for nothing that the island also bears the name “Sun Island”.

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In Palermo, most of the important sights are close together, so that they can be admired in a short tour. The city’s landmark, the Maria Santissima Assunta Cathedral, is a special monument to the Arab-Norman period of rule and attracts several people to its place every day due to its beauty. The cathedral is also the burial place of three important personalities: Staufen Emperor Henry VI, Frederick II and Queen Constance of Sicily.

View of Palermo
View of Palermo, Image: Vlada Zh / shutterstock

Surrounded by four palaces, each with a fountain in front of it, is the square “Quattro Canto”. These fountains each represent a season, and the columns, statues, and coats of arms also represent a historical masterpiece! It’s worth taking a guided tour of the city to learn more about this magical place.

Of course, what you can do as in any other big city is to stroll. In Italy, fashion is still very important and therefore extensive strolling is part of every city tour. How convenient, then, that a large road is home to just about everything that makes the heart beat faster. Via Roma is the city’s largest shopping street and is ideal for a shopping trip. But the numerous markets should also be visited. There you will find all kinds of fruit and vegetables, fish and meat, handicrafts and souvenirs for loved ones at home.

In addition to numerous monuments, buildings and green spaces, there are also endless coastlines around the city. Believe it or not, 1500 kilometers of coastline wind around Palermo and can offer all beach lovers the most amazing beaches. Here, too, you will find crystal clear water and fine sandy beach, in the middle of a fascinating green environment, which is clearly accentuated by Monte Pellegrino, for example.

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The characteristic buildings, picturesque beaches and the hustle and bustle of the city make a visit to the city perfect.

Specialities and culinary delights

Piazza Pretoria
Piazza Pretoria, Romas_Photo / shutterstock

The entire Mediterranean region is known for its aromatic cuisine and so Palermo can also claim to offer these specialties in its menus. Sicilian cuisine in particular is characterized by the many sun-ripened fruits and vegetables and the influences of the different cultures. Fish lovers will also get their money’s worth, as fish and seafood are served much more often than, for example, meat. A typical Sicilian appetizer comes from Palermo: arancini. At that time, the Arabs brought rice to the island and this delicious appetizer was born. Arancini are deep-fried rice balls that are filled with different ingredients.

Many restaurants in Palermo have the typical dishes on their menus and entice their guests with rich and hearty main courses and sweet desserts. It is usually accompanied by a strong aromatic wine, which is also produced in Sicily, because the fertile soil of the island is ideal for growing grapes. The menu is topped off with a fruity limoncello or a siciliano, a herbal liqueur that is drunk as a digestif after a meal. In Palermo there are numerous typical restaurants that make the city trip a culinary highlight!