Palermo is a city of great charm. Splendid under the sun of the south, lively, chaotic, bright on the Tyrrhenian Sea, protected by Mount Pellegrino and around the lush Golden Conca, a valley of orange trees that color the earth. A city to visit and discover, beautiful especially in the middle of the seasons, when the weather is mild and the lighter light enhances skyline and architecture.
In Palermo live the wonders of the Arab and Norman style and the liberty of downtown streets, theaters and gardens, the ancient gates and the markets where the salesmen’s voices resound. The first Greek and Roman city, then Arabian capital, rich in mosques and gardens, later conquered by Normans and Swabians, the old Panormus, a strategic place for merchandise and commerce, presents fascinating traces of a multiethnic past.
Palermo multicultural city
As well as for its gulf and the sea it overlooks, fascinates for Norman and Baroque monuments, lush gardens and gorgeous views. Over the centuries, it has been the subject of conquests that have characterized architecture and everyday life. The various influences are visible in the cathedral, a majestic building begun in the twelfth century and overhauled with an eighteenth-century dome and a medieval bell tower.
The Cathedral of Santa Rosalia
Born on a pre-existing basilica, converted into a mosque by the Arabs and then redone from the Normans to the Christian religion, the cathedral is embellished with twin walls, towers and gothic decorations, and houses the relics of Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of the city. There are also the tombs of the emperors, including Ruggero II and Federico II, a bearer of culture throughout Southern Italy. Near here is the Norman palace (also known as Royal Palace), originally an Arab building, which has always been the seat of power: it contains the Palatine chapel, one of the most remarkable monuments of the Norman period, rich in mosaics on a golden background of influence Byzantine churches, together with those of the church of Santa Maria dell’Amiraglio, represent art masterpieces that make Palermo a must-see destination.
An architectural mix of universal value
The elegant Martorana, with its high arcane bell tower, dates back to Norman times, while the monumental Pretoria fountain, which occupies almost the entire square of the same name, is Baroque. With the cathedrals of nearby Cefalù and Monreale, the Norman Arab Palermo was declared UNESCO World Heritage because it represents a material example of coexistence, interaction and interchange between different cultural components of historical and heterogeneous geographical origins
A mix that has created an original architectural and artistic style, of exceptional universal value, in which admiration, Byzantine, Islamic and Latin elements are admirably fused, resulting in unique combinations of unique artistic and extraordinarily unified values.
The charm of Vucciria
The road from cathedral to Martorana passes through Piazza Vigliena, known as the Four Songs, at the intersection of Via Maqueda and Vittorio Emanuele, decorated with statues and fountains of 1600. On Plaza Pretoria overlooks the palace of the Town Hall, 1643, with a splendid fountain of the sixteenth century consisting of 644 marble groups. It is in this area that the streets carry names in Italian, Arabic and Hebrew. From here it goes down to the sea, passing through Vuccirìa, the oldest and most animated market in the city, in Piazza San Domenico, where the church of the same name rises, among the most interesting baroque buildings of the city. Another religious building of the Norman era is the church dedicated to San Giovanni degli Eremiti, with oriental red domes, built in the twelfth century on the foundations of an ancient mosque.