The Phoenicians founded Palermo as a trade port in 700 BC, and a long string of rulers followed. Carthage was the first to conquer it, followed by the Romans, who named it Panhormus. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Vandals took over, followed by Arabian rulers who turned Sicily in to an emirate. Palermo transformed in to a magical city with mosques, minarets and markets. It is said that its beauty measured up well with Cordoba and Cairo.
During the crusades, the city’s wealth was discovered by the Normans who conquered the city, but continued building on the Arabian legacy of tolerance and enlightenment. That era is known as "the Golden Years".
Today tourists are discovering a city with an exciting mix of medieval areas where washing is still hung on lines between buildings to elegant residential districts with palm trees and palatial villas. A city with stunning historical sights, just waiting to get explored and many which are located in the city centre, making it easy to reach. Palermo, with its culture, history, food and energetic atmosphere has become a popular destination and even if you would spend months here, you still would not experience all of her charms.
Palazzo dei Normanni
Palazzo dei Normanni is one of the most famous sights in Palermo which was the former royal palace of King Roger II in the 1100’s. Covered in dazzling Byzantine mosaics (akin to those in the church of the Martorana and in the Monreale Cathedral), this Arab-Norman architectural edifice is a symbol of the political and cultural union operated by the Normans.
This little town with a population of 30,000 lies in the mountains southwest of Palermo. Its postcard-perfect views are only rivaled by the Norman Catedrale di Monreale, Italy’s largest medieval building which holds 6,000 square meters of Byzantine art.
Bar des Arcades
With a unique location, overlooking the marina bay, Bar des Arcades is the perfect spot where to enjoy a delicious cocktail on the terrace or by the fireplace in the winter months. Have some snacks with your drink and listen to the beautiful music that comes from the piano every evening.
Good to know
Use the AMAT network of buses and trams to get around the city. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes and can be bought from tobacco vendors, some newsagents or at the AMAT kiosk at Piazza Ruggero Séttimo and Stazione Centraleà. You need to stamp the ticket in the machines that are located near the entrances of the vehicle when boarding. The tram system operates four lines in Palermo and is an easy way to get around.
AMAT also run night buses, while Trenitalia manage the train network.
AMAT: +39 091 350111
Trenitalia Sicily: +39 091 6170224
230 V, 50 Hz