Palermo and its old centre
Zyz, Panormus or Balarm, these are some of the names the city was called after, in the ages. For centuries, Palermo was the cradle of the Mediterranean area, the place where many different cultures met and deeply affected city’s asset, by giving it a cultural, artistic and historical heritage of rare beauty.
Among the possible itineraries, one of the most interesting is undoubtedly the Arab – Norman: the Palazzo Reale (the Royal Residence, now Sicilian government’s headquarters), the Cappella Palatina, the Chiesa di San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Cattedrale (the Cathedral), the Chiesa della Martorana, the Castello della Zisa, the Genoardo and the Cuba were once part of a tour named “I Sollazzi Regi”, royal entrainment.
Among the beautiful city’s places there are also the Orto Botanico, the botanic gardens, the Teatro Massimo, the biggest Italian opera house and one of the biggest in Europe, the countless churches that testify several historical times, and, last but not least, the typical local markets; Ballarò, Vucciria and Capo, a perfect picture of Mediterranean culture, where to buy spices, local products, fresh fish and taste the famous local street food.
Mondello, Palermo’s shore, 10 minutes far from the Villa, is situated within a picturesque bay between Pellegrino and Gallo mountains. A kilometre and a half of white sand coastline coloured with tropical nuances, also known for its crystal waters and Art Nouveau villas. The small maritime town provides visitors with a large restaurant network and entertainment structures for to spend pleasant evenings and taste very fresh local fish dishes such as mussel soup, boiled octopus and sea urchin pasta.
Wildlife reserve of Capo Gallo, heading West right after Mondello seaside, it is made up of a carbonate massif, Mount Gallo, which, on the side overlooking the sea, has fascinating caves, such as the Grotta dell’olio, and reaches to Punta Barcarello. Its vertical faces plummet 500 metres on the sea, the beautiful sea floor and the unbeatable views from the heights make this promontory a nature’s milestone. The distance between Capo Gallo and the very near Isola delle Femmine is a sea wildlife reserve named Capo Gallo- Isola delle Femmine, of which floors offer a large variety of plant lives of rare beauty.
Alternative tours and sports in Palermo
Palermo is also the right place for practicing trekking and hiking. First of all, urban trekking is suggested for its unusual itineraries: the first one starts from the city to the city’s patron saint Santa Rosalia’s sanctuary on mount Pellegrino. Another fascinating walk is the one through the Quanat, a huge hydraulic engineering work under the city built after the Arab control of Palermo; and, at last, the Cappuccini catacombs, renowned all over the world as a wide cemetery’s undergrounds, which many tourists find them of interest.
In Palermo, you can also practice several sports such as diving, boat touring, fishing, horse riding and much more.