Palermo

The capital of Sicily, Palermo provides a gorgeous port of call when cruising the Mediterranean.  The port nestles beautifully at the foot of Monte Pellgrino where you will see a large natural harbour for picturesque views and the ideal place to capture a photograph. 

The city boasts an incredibly diverse history and has both enjoyed and suffered at the hands of multiple reins.  Founded in the 5th century, Palermo has undergone the colourful influences of the Arabs, Carthaginians, Goths, Greeks and the Vandals.  The architecture is where you will really notice these assorted impacts with a wide range of diverse structures.  The influences of mixed influences also left their mark on the population as you will realised upon arrival as Palermo acknowledges it’s past. 

The city of Palermo is in fact an incredibly modern capital and Italian flare in abundance but no matter where you travel here; there is history around every corner.  It was during the 9th century that the city became hugely famous for its universities and wealthy courts.  This famed period has led to a large amount of national treasures and historic monuments around the city. 

When touring the sights, you will see such pleasures as the Politeama Square and Via Ruggero Settimo.  Perhaps one of the most popular attractions however has to be the Massimo Opera House, renowned for being one of the largest in Europe.  The next stop on your list should certainly be the vibrant Quattro Canti otherwise known as Piazza Vigliena.  This iconic location is Palermo’s handsome intersection separating the city into four quarters.  This famous point was geographically at the centre of the city when it was first built and has continued to be the heart and soul of Palermo to this day.  Many locals and tourists consider this extravagant spot as a must see when visiting the area.  The design behind the focal point was due to Victor Emanuel II, the very first kind of unified Italy along with the impacting decision made by the 17th century Spanish Viceroy of Sicily.  Originally the street going through the area was named the Cassaro and its length spanned right from the beautiful harbour scene to grounds of the Norman Palace.  It was the Spanish Viceroy’s decision that created the four quarter separation of the Quattro Canti as he decided a new street will be constructed directly through the middle of the Cassaro, which then divided the city into four neat and formed four quarters.  The new street adopted the name of the Viceroy and was called the Duke of Marqueda.  This special site boasts a dramatic historical impact on the city and is definitely worth taking in. 

Sightseeing continues from the Quattro Canti  with a variety of statues and fountains to be seen at each corner.  These features are at complete harmony with one and other forming exquisite symmetry.  As you look up you will notice three distinctive levels of embellishment.  These three levels present an homage to firstly the four seasons, then the four Spanish kings Charles V, Philip II, Philip III, and Philip IV and finally the third level pays tribute to four saints, these being Santa Ninfa, Santa Cristina, Sant’Oliva, and Sant’Agata.

The four quarters of the city are known as Capo, in the north-west quadrant, Vucciria in the north-east, Kalsa in the south-east and Albergheria in the south-west.

Other fascinating sightseeing interests include the glorious Royal Palace, City Hall and the enchanting Foro Italico.  Just outside of the city centre you will also find the stunningly aesthetic Monreale cathedral, which is in fact one of the world’s most visited monuments.


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