Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Geography | Districts | Landmarks | Palaces and museums | Churches | Squares and public monuments | City walls | Opera houses | Other sights | UNESCO World Heritage Sites | Sport | Economy | Transport : Public | Buses | Trams | Coaches | Public Transportation Statistics | Transport : Road : Air : Sea | National rail | Education

🇮🇹 Palermo is a city in southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo, the city's surrounding metropolitan province. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is in the north-west of the island of Sicily, by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Sus ("flower"). Palermo then became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos; the Carthaginians used this name on their coins after the 5th century BC. As Panormus, the town became part of the Roman Republic and Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule in the Emirate of Sicily when the city became the capital of Sicily for the first time. During this time the city was known as Balarm. Following the Norman conquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily, that lasted from 1130 to 1816.

The population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, poetically, panormiti. The languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language.

Palermo is Sicily's cultural, economic and tourism capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its appealing Mediterranean climate, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music. Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services, commerce and agriculture. Palermo has an international airport and a significant underground economy. For cultural, artistic and economic reasons, Palermo is one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe. It is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. The city is also going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area.

Roman Catholicism is highly important in Palermitan culture. The Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia whose Feast Day is celebrated on 15 July. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is widely known for its colourful fruit, vegetable and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo.


Geography Palermo lies in a basin, formed by the Papireto, Kemonia and Oreto rivers. The basin was named the Conca d'Oro (the Golden Basin) by the Arabs in the 9th century. The city is surrounded by a mountain range which is named after the city itself. These mountains face the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is home to a natural port and offers excellent views to the sea, especially from Monte Pellegrino.


Districts I Kalsa, Albergheria, Seralcadio & La Loggia

II Settecannoli, Brancaccio & Ciaculli-Oreto

III Villagrazia-Falsomiele & Stazione-Oreto

IV Montegrappa, S. Rosalia, Cuba, Calafatimi, Mezzomonreale, Villa Tasca-Altarello & Boccadifalco

V Zisa, Noce, Uditore-Passo di Rigano & Borgo Nuovo

VI Cruillas, S. Giovanni Apostolo, Resuttana & San Lorenzo

VII Pallavicino, Tommaso Natale, Sferracavallo, Partanna Mondello, Arenella, Vergine Maria & San Filippo Neri (formerly known as ZEN)

VIII Politeama, Malaspina-Palagonia, Libertà & Monte Pellegrino.


Landmarks Palermo has a large architectural heritage and is notable for its many Norman buildings.


Palaces and museums • Palazzo dei Normanni (the Norman Palace), a notable example of Norman architecture, this palace houses the Cappella Palatina. • Zisa (1160) and Cuba, magnificent castles/houses historically used by the kings of Palermo for hunting. The Zisa today houses the Islamic museum. The Cuba was once encircled by water. • Palazzo Natoli • Palazzo Chiaramonte • Palazzo Abatellis: Built at the end of the 15th century for the prefect of the city, Francesco Abatellis. It is a massive though elegant construction, in typical Catalan Gothic style, with Renaissance influences. The Gallery houses an Eleonora of Aragon bust by Francesco Laurana (1471) and the Malvagna Triptych (c. 1510), by Jan Gossaert and an Annunziata by Antonello da Messina. • Antonino Salinas Regional Archeological Museum: museum includes numerous remains from Etruscan, Carthaginian, Roman and Hellenistic civilisations. It houses all the decorative remains from the Sicilian temples of Segesta and Selinunte. • Palazzina Cinese royal residence of the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and location of the Ethnographic Museum of Sicily.


Churches • Palermo Cathedral: the long history of the cathedral led to an accumulation of different architectural styles, the latest being the 18th century. • Cappella Palatina, 12th century chapel of the Palazzo dei Normanni, has outstanding mosaics in both Western and the Eastern traditions and a roof by Saracen craftsmen. • San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi • San Giovanni degli Eremiti: 12th-century church, near Palazzo dei Normanni, notable for bright red domes, a remnant of Arab influence in Sicily. In his Diary of an Idle Woman in Sicily, F. Elliot described it as "…  totally oriental… it would fit well in Baghdad or Damascus". The bell tower is an example of Norman architecture. • Chiesa della Martorana: Also known as Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (St Mary of the Admiral), church annexed to the next-door church of San Cataldo and overlooks Piazza Bellini in central Palermo. Original layout was a compact cross-in-square ("Greek cross plan"), a common south Italian and Sicilian variant of the middle Byzantine period church style. Three eastern apses adjoin directly to the naos, instead of being separated by an additional bay, as was usual in eastern Byzantine architecture. The bell tower, lavishly decorated, still serves as the main entrance to the church. The interior decoration is elaborate, and includes Byzantine mosaics. • San Cataldo: Church on central Piazza Bellini, another example of Norman architecture. • Santa Maria della Gancia • Santa Caterina: Church located on Piazza Bellini, behind Piazza Pretoria, built between 1566 and 1596. • Santa Maria della Catena: Built between 1490 and 1520. Designed by Matteo Carnilivari: The name derives from chains that were once attached to one of the walls. • San Domenico: Located near Via Roma, now “Pantheon of illustrious Sicilians”. • San Giuseppe dei Teatini: Located near the Quattro Canti, it is an example of Sicilian Baroque. • Oratorio di San Lorenzo Working in stucco, Rococo sculptor Giacomo Serpotta and his family decorated the church (1690/98–1706) with such a profusion of statuary, and an abundance of putti, the walls appear alive. In October 1969, two thieves removed Caravaggio's Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence from its frame. It has never been recovered. • Oratorio del Rosario: Completed by Giacomo Serpotta in (1710–17) • Santa Teresa alla Kalsa, derives its name from Al-Khalisa, an Arabic term meaning elected, was constructed between 1686 and 1706 over the former Emir's residence, is one of the best examples of Sicilian Baroque. It has a single, airy nave, with stucco decorations from the early 18th century. • Santa Maria dello Spasimo was built in 1506 and later turned into a hospital. This church inspired Raphael to paint his famous Sicilia's Spasimo, now in the Museo del Prado. The church today is a fascinating open-air auditorium, which occasionally houses exhibitions and musical shows. • Church of the Gesù (Church of Jesus): Located in the city centre, the church was built in 1564 in the late-Renaissance style by the Jesuits. It was built over a pre-existing convent of Basilian monks. Alterations in 1591 were completed in a Sicilian Baroque. The church was heavily damaged after the 1943 bombings, which destroyed most of the frescos. The interior has a Latin cross plan with a nave and two aisles, and has a particularly rich decoration of marbles, intarsia and stuccoes, especially in St Anne's Chapel. At the right is the Casa Professa, with a 1685 portal and a precious 18th century cloister. The building has been home to the Municipal Library since 1775. • San Francesco di Assisi: church built between 1255 and 1277 in what was once the market district of the city, at the site of two pre-existing churches and was largely renovated in the 15th, 16th, 18th and 19th centuries, the last after an earthquake. After the 1943 bombings, the church was restored to its Medieval appearance, which now includes part of the original building such as part of the right side, the apses and the Gothic portal in the façade. The interior has a typical Gothic flavour, with a nave and two aisles separated by two rows of cylindrical pilasters. Some of the chapels are in Renaissance style, as well as the late 16th century side portals. The church includes precious sculptures by Antonio, Giacomo Gagini and Francesco Laurana. Of note are also statues built by Giacomo Serpotta in 1723. • Church of the Magione: Officially known as the church of the Holy Trinity. This church was built in the Norman style in 1191 by Matteo d'Ajello, who donated it to the Cistercian monks.


Squares and public monuments • Quattro Canti is a small square at the crossing of the ancient main roads (now: Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda) dividing the town into its quarters (mandamenti). The buildings at the corner have diagonal baroque façades so the square has an almost octagonal form. • Piazza Pretoria was planned in the 16th century near the Quattro Canti as the site of a fountain by Francesco Camilliani, the Fontana Pretoria. • The monument to Charles V on Piazza Bologni, erected in 1631.


City walls Palermo had two rings of city walls, many parts of which still survive. The first ring surrounded the ancient core of the Phoenician city, the Palaeopolis or Paleapolis (in the area east of Porta Nuova) and the Neapolis. Via Vittorio Emanuele was the main road east–west through this early walled city. The eastern edge of the walled city was on Via Roma and the ancient port in the vicinity of Piazza Marina. The wall circuit was approximately Porto Nuovo, Corso Alberti, Piazza Peranni, Via Isodoro, Via Candela, Via Venezia, Via Roma, Piazza Paninni, Via Biscottari, Via Del Bastione, Palazzo dei Normanni and back to Porto Nuovo.

The walls followed the course of the two rivers that surround the city, the Kemonia and the Papireto, creating a natural moat and improving the military security of the city. During the Roman era, they were certainly implemented, as deducible from the subsequent account of Procopius of Caesarea about the capture of Palermo,

In the medieval period the city was expanded with a second wall. Via Vittorio Emanuele continued to be the main road east–west through the walled city. The west gate was still Porta Nuova, the walls continued to Corso Alberti, to Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Orlando where it turned east along Via Volturno to Piazza Verdi and along the line of Via Cavour. At this north-east corner the Castello a Mare protected the port at La Cala. A huge chain was used to block La Cala with the other end at Santa Maria della Catena (St Mary of the Chain). The sea-side wall was along the western side of Foro Italico Umberto. The wall turns west along the northern side of Via Abramo Lincoln, continues along Corso Tukory. The wall turns north approximately on Via Benedetto, to Palazzo dei Normanni and back to Porta Nuova.

Several gates in the city wall survive.


Opera houses Up until the beginning of 20th century there were hundreds of small opera theatres known as magazzeni in the city of Palermo. • The Teatro Massimo ("Greatest Theatre") was opened in 1897. It is the biggest in Italy (8,000 m2; 86,000 sq ft), and one of the largest of Europe (the third after the Paris Opera and the Vienna State Opera), renowned for its perfect acoustics. Enrico Caruso sang in a performance of La Gioconda during the opening season, returning for Rigoletto at the very end of his career. Closed for renovation from 1974 until 1997, it is now restored and has an active schedule. • The Teatro Politeama was built between 1867 and 1874.


Other sights The cathedral has a heliometer (solar observatory) dating to 1690, one of a number built in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The device itself is quite simple: a tiny hole in one of the minor domes acts as pinhole camera, projecting an image of the sun onto the floor at solar noon (12:00 in winter, 13:00 in summer). There is a bronze line, la Meridiana, on the floor, running precisely north–south. The ends of the line mark the positions as at the summer and winter solstices; signs of the zodiac show the various other dates throughout the year.

The purpose of the instrument was to standardise the measurement of time and the calendar. The convention in Sicily had been that the (24‑hour) day was measured from the moment of dawn, which of course meant that no two locations had the same time and, more importantly, did not have the same time as in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. It was also important to know when the vernal equinox occurred, to provide the correct date for Easter.

The Orto botanico di Palermo (Palermo Botanical Garden), founded in 1785, is the largest in Italy with a surface of 10 ha (25 acres).

One site of interest is the Capuchin Catacombs, with many mummified corpses in varying degrees of preservation.

Close to the city is the 600 m-high (2,000 ft) Monte Pellegrino, offering a panorama of the city, its surrounding mountains and the sea.

Another good panoramic viewpoint is the promontory of Monte Gallo (586 m; 1,923 ft), near Mondello Beach.

Moreton Bay fig of >30 m girth and of 32m height can be found on the Piazza Marina. This Ficus macrophylla is most probably the thickest tree in Europe.

On the boulevard Via Roma is the Palazzo delle Poste, an official Italian government building created during the Mussolini era in the stripped classicism architectural style. It was designed by the rationalist and later fascist government architect, Angiolo Mazzoni. Perhaps its most famous feature is the five mural cycle in the Futurist style painted by the artist Benedetta Cappa titled "Sintesi delle Comunicazioni" (Synthesis of Communication).


UNESCO World Heritage Sites UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Palazzo Reale with the Cappella Palatina, the Chiesa di San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, the Chiesa di San Cataldo, the Cattedrale di Palermo, the Palazzo della Zisa and the Ponte dell’Ammiraglio, adding to the list that makes Italy the country with most UNESCO world heritage sites.


Sport Palermo hosts a professional football team, Palermo Football Club, commonly referred to as simply Palermo, who currently compete in Serie B as of 2022, having been excluded from Serie B after the 2018–2019 season. After the bankruptcy occurred in the summer of 2019, a new club was formed by the company Hera Hora Srl.

The Targa Florio was an open road endurance car race held near Palermo. Founded in 1906, it used to be one of the oldest sports car racing events until it was discontinued in 1977 due to safety concerns but has since run as a rallying event. Palermo was home to the grand depart of the 2008 Giro d'Italia. The initial stage was a 28.5 km-long (17.7 mi) TTT (Team Time Trial).

The Internazionali Femminili di Palermo is an annual ladies professional tennis event held in the city, which is part of the WTA Tour.

The american football team is Eagles United Palermo and it plays in stadium of Carini.


Economy As Sicily's administrative capital, Palermo is a centre for much of the region's finance, tourism and commerce. The city currently hosts an international airport, and Palermo's economic growth over the years has brought the opening of many new businesses. The economy mainly relies on tourism and services, but also has commerce, shipbuilding and agriculture. The city, however, still has high unemployment levels, high corruption and a significant black market empire (Palermo being the home of the Sicilian Mafia).


Transport: Public Palermo has a local railway called the Palermo metropolitan railway service.


Buses Palermo's public bus system is operated by AMAT which covers a net area of 340 km (211 mi). About 90 different routes reach every part of the city.


Trams Palermo has a public tram system finalized in 2015 and operated by AMAT. There are 4 lines: 1 Roccella — Central Station

2 Borgo Nuovo — Notarbartolo Station

3 CEP — Notarbartolo Station

4 Corso Calatafimi — Notarbartolo Station


Coaches The local coach company, AST, with its coaches totalling 35 lines, links Palermo to all of the main cities in Sicily.


Public Transportation Statistics The average amount of time people spend commuting with public transit in Palermo, for example to and from work, on a weekday is 63 min. 14.% of public transit riders, ride for more than 2 hours every day. The average amount of time people wait at a stop or station for public transit is 23 min, while 48% of riders wait for over 20 minutes on average every day. The average distance people usually ride in a single trip with public transit is 4.4 km, while 3% travel for over 12 km in a single direction.


Transport: Road Palermo is a key intersection on the Sicilian road network, being the junction between the eastern A19 motorway to Trapani, the south-eastern A29 to airport and Mazara del Vallo and the south-western A19 to Catania and A20 to Messina. Palermo is one of the main cities on European route E90. The three main national roads starting from Palermo are the SS113, SS121, SS186 and the SS624.


Transport: Air Palermo International Airport, known as Falcone-Borsellino Airport (formerly Punta Raisi Airport), is located 32 km (20 mi) west of Palermo. It is dedicated to Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, two anti-mafia judges killed by the Mafia in the early 1990s.

The airport's rail facility, known as Punta Raisi railway station, can be reached from Palermo Centrale, Palermo Notarbartolo and Palermo Francia railway stations.

Palermo-Boccadifalco Airport is the second airport of the city.


Transport: Sea The port of Palermo, founded by the Phoenicians over 2,700 years ago, is, together with the port of Messina, the main port of Sicily. From here ferries link Palermo to Cagliari, Genoa, Livorno, Naples, Tunis and other cities and carry a total of almost 2 million passengers annually. It is also an important port for cruise ships. Traffic includes also almost 5×106 t (5.5×106 short tons) of cargo and 80,000 TEUs yearly. The port also has links to minor Sicilian islands such as Ustica and the Aeolian Islands (via Cefalù in summer). Inside the Port of Palermo there is a section known as "tourist marina" for sailing yachts and catamarans.


National rail The main railway station of Palermo is Palermo Centrale which links to the other cities of Sicily, including Agrigento, Trapani and Catania, and through Messina and the strait to the rest of Italy. The railways also connect to the Palermo airport with departures every thirty minutes.


Education The local university is the University of Palermo, the island's second oldest university. It was officially founded in 1806, although historical records indicate that medicine and law have been taught there since the late 15th century. The Orto botanico di Palermo (Palermo botanical gardens) is home to the university's Department of Botany and is also open to visitors.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy 
<b>Palermo, Sicily, Italy</b>
Image: Adobe Stock dudlajzov #205966073

Palermo is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.

Palermo was ranked #574 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Palermo has a population of over 657,960 people. Palermo also forms the centre of the wider Palermo metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,069,754 people. Palermo is the #408 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 1.5589 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores. Palermo is ranked #628 for startups with a score of 0.249.

To set up a UBI Lab for Palermo see: Twitter:

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Palermo has links with:

🇹🇳 Bizerte, Tunisia 🇨🇩 Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo 🇪🇬 Cairo, Egypt 🇨🇳 Chengdu, China 🇩🇪 Düsseldorf, Germany 🇨🇮 Grand-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire 🇻🇳 Hanoi, Vietnam 🇮🇷 Kermanshah, Iran 🇵🇸 Khan Yunis, Palestine 🇺🇸 Miami, USA 🇺🇸 Monterey, USA 🇫🇷 Montpellier, France 🇨🇦 Ottawa, Canada 🇦🇷 Palermo, Argentina 🇨🇴 Palermo, Colombia 🇮🇹 Pistoia, Italy 🇷🇺 Samara, Russia 🇨🇺 Santiago de Cuba, Cuba 🇬🇭 Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana 🇮🇹 Sestu, Italy 🇬🇪 Tbilisi, Georgia 🇷🇴 Timișoara, Romania 🇲🇹 Valletta, Malta 🇷🇺 Yaroslavl, Russia
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license | GaWC | Hipster Index | Nomad | StartupBlink

Antipodal to Palermo is: -166.638,-38.115

Locations Near: Palermo 13.3619,38.115

🇮🇹 Agrigento 13.586,37.303 d: 92.4  

🇮🇹 Trapani 12.515,38.019 d: 74.9  

🇮🇹 Mazara del Vallo 12.583,37.65 d: 85.7  

🇮🇹 Caltanissetta 14.063,37.49 d: 92.9  

🇮🇹 Enna 14.267,37.55 d: 101.3  

🇮🇹 Caltagirone 14.5,37.233 d: 140.2  

🇮🇹 Vittoria 14.533,36.95 d: 165.7  

🇮🇹 Ragusa 14.732,36.926 d: 179.1  

🇮🇹 Catania 15.083,37.5 d: 166  

🇮🇹 Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto 15.221,38.148 d: 162.6  

Antipodal to: Palermo -166.638,-38.115

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 17955.6  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 17334.6  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 17268.2  

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 17187.8  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 13471.3  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 13386.8  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 13373.5  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 13368.7  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 13368.3  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 13344.9  

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