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Monday, July 23, 2012

Tours to Palermo - Beyond the Sicilian Legend

Detail of the bell tower.Detail of the bell tower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Author: Aman Kapur

When planning vacations time visiting Palermo, every person has different evocations associated to this place. Some people think of Palermo as a beach of cosmopolite charm, some others recall its historical connotation associated to ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, Roman, and the Byzantine Empire, while others associate Palermo with the modern urban legends of Sicilian "bad guys." Whatever is written in your mind, Palermo is a tourist destination you must keep in your list to places to visit sometime.
Located in the south of the Italian peninsula, Palermo is the capital city of the Island of Sicily, a city that was founded around 2,700 years ago, although there is archeological evidence that the city was founded not later than 8000 years BC. Sicilia is an autonomous Italian region in the south tip of Italy, with Palermo connecting to mainland via by train or car via its highway, although the Aeroporto Internazionale Falcone Borsellino is the easiest way to arrive from almost anywhere around the world.

Palermo has a privileged location facing the waters of Northwest Gulf of Palermo and the Tyrrhenian Sea, factor that might contribute to increase its population each year. Palermo is among the most populated cities of Italy and within the eight more populated all over Europe. However, when it comes to attractions, there are countless treasures to see across the city.
From colored fruits and vegetables that make of Palermo's food an attraction by itself, to impressive buildings such as the Cappella Palatina, the churches of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Santa Maria della Gancia, San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Santa Maria della Catena, San Giuseppe dei Teatini, and the outstanding Cathedral of Palermo.
Other places of interest include the Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Oratorio del Rosario, and many other buildings showcasing their Arabian, Norman, Byzantinian, French and Spanish architecture, periods of Palermo's history that can also be discovered in the exhibits displayed at the Regional Archaeological Museum.
Fine arts and cultural events take place at the International Marionettes Museum, Teatro Massimo, the Sicilian Regional Gallery, and the Teatro Politeama, formerly an Opera House in the 19th century, today comprises the Gallery of Modern Art. Palermo counts with other buildings of remarkable interest such as the Palazzo dei Normanni, Il Castello della Zisa, Palazzo Chiaramonte, Palazzo Abatellis, and the Norman building of La Cuba that was a hunting place for the King of Palermo.
In your visit to Palermo do not forget to pay a visit to the Fontana Pretoria, a fountain in the square of the same name, and the Quattro Canti, an Arabic quarter of Kalsa, that is located near the former ancient road that once divided the city in "mandamentos" (quarters.) Palermo has also a lush park downtown called Real Tenuta della Favorita that was a hunting place for the Bourbons court in the 19th century, and do not forget the Orto botanico that comprises the most important and largest gardens in the European Continent.
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