Sicily’s capital city has a population of about 800,000 and is Italy’s fifth biggest city.

Chaotic, noisy, unkept and in places dirty it’s a reflection of a past where several cultures intermixed or held sway. Arabs and Norman architecture sits alongside ,scrappy modern apartments, traffic jams, exuberant markets and derelict buildings. The Mafia were a powerful force here and the city was heavily bombed during the Secind World War. It’s easy to get lost in a warren of winding snd serninhly disconnected alleys, lane ways and streets.

The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians.Palermo then became a possession of Carthage snd then two Greek colonies were established here.

As Panormus, the town became part of the Roman Republic and then Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule when the city became the capital of the Arab Emirate of Sicily for the first time.Following the Norman Conquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily, that lasted from 1130 to 1816.

Historically the city was centred around central crossroads known as the Quattro Canti. Four district medieval quarters surround it – Albergheria, Capo, Vucciria and La Kalsa. Historically they all have their own trades, palaces and markets and even dialects .Most of Palermo’s best sites are located within a maze of alleyways and piazzas in these areas.

Our top five sites and things to do in Palermo.

    • Palazzo dei Normanni: Originally an Arab palazzo taken over by the Normans. The private chapel here of a Norman ruler, Roger the 2nd, is the Capella Platina and was built between 1132 and 1143. It is still regarded as the artistic gem of Palermo. The entire chapel is covered in outstanding Byzantine mosaics.
    • The Teatro Massimo is Italy’s largest opera house, the third largest in Europe after the Paris Opera House and the Vienna State Opera, and a symbol of the grandeur of the Art Nouveau period.
    • Palermo’s street food is famous. A street food tour is a must along with the tours of the ancient markets.
    • Duomo di Monreale: Another eclectic blend of Byzantine , Arab and Norman architecture featuring fabulous mosaics.
    • Catacombe dei Cappucini: Palermo’s most house site displays mummified remains of eight thousand bodies.


Destination – Italy