Palermo city break
Palermo is the capital of the autonomous region Sicily and the Province of Palermo. It is located in the north west of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The city is noted for its rich history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians, but named by the Ancient Greeks as Panormus meaning all-port. Palermo became part of the Roman Republic and eventually part of the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. For a brief period it was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily where it first became a capital. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo would become capital of a new kingdom from 1130 to 1816, the Kingdom of Sicily. Eventually it would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860.
The population of the Palermo urban area is estimated to be about 855,200, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. Its inhabitants are known as Palermitans (Palermitani in Italian) or poetically panormiti, the languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Sicilian dialect.
It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food, and 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.
The following are worth a visit: the Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel, the Arab-Norman Cathedral, the Oratorio of Santa Cita, the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the church of La Martorana, the Capuchin Catacombs, Palazzo Abatellis and the Regional Art Gallery, the Teatro Massimo Opera House, its markets such us Vucciria and Capo, Zisa and Cuba magnificent castles/houses used by the kings of Palermo for hunting, the Botanical Garden, the largest in Italy.
The patron saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia, who is still widely venerated. On 14 July, people in Palermo celebrate the Festino, 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.
Palermo International Airport, also known as Falcone-Borsellino Airport, Punta Raisi Airport: dedicated to Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two anti-mafia judges killed by the mafia in early 1990s, is located 32 km (19 miles) west of Palermo (Punta Raisi).