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Palermo is the Capital of Sicily, the biggest island within the Mediterranean, and also a tiny mass of land next Italy's boot toe. All Sicily's official trade is carried out within its biggest city, with 900,000 people calling this northern port town home. Sicily has among the world's best histories, mainly because of the varied skills of those who've ruled the area with the centuries. Sicily continues to be lived on because the Phoenicians known as it home within the eighth century BC. In succession, the Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, and Bourbons have controlled Sicily. Each ruler's touches can nonetheless be felt today. It may be observed in the flaxen-haired descendants from the Normans or by observing that Palermo's Duomo was initially a mosque. Today the city is replete with history, and is a fascinating culmination of the old with the new.
Palermo's old town, which is split into four quarters, is in the center of the town. A lot of what there's to determine in Palermo are available in the 4 corners, because the city center is famous.
Inside a microcosm, Palermo signifies Sicily, and Italia for your matter. Tradition is extremely respected here, with family and religion in the center on most of the items continues here. The Mafia, which accustomed to completely run Maui, has lost ground because of the current election of a Hollywood, anti-Mafia mayor. Crime is rampant within the city, and ladies traveling on their own should guard their belongings very carefully. A few of the world's best pickpockets and people use Palermo as his or her training grounds, so vacationers are encouraged to be their sharpest when walking the roads of Palermo.
The city's mixture of skills is exactly what draws in people here probably the most. Unique architecture and fascinating museum exhibits assist the city stick out. But it's the way of those here that many people discover most charming. The exuberance, the animation, the joie p vivre (pardon my French) of Sicilians is contagious.
Docking & Local Transportation
Cruise ships pier in the Stazione Marittima-Molo, Vittorio Veneta, in Palermo. There's road access offered by the main harbour, and also the nearest rail station is under two miles away.
Ferries and hydrofoils travel between Sicily's islands on the fairly consistent basis. Call SNAV for particulars. Four different bus companies be employed in Palermo, on virtually exactly the same route. No business is much better than these, but you can go to Cuffaro  for agendas. A good option to get taxis is while watching stop.
Local Interests
You will find tourist offices spread all through the town. The primary hub is Azienda Autonoma Turismo That Old Town part of Palermo is the greatest spot to pack in many sightseeing inside a short time. Palermo's Duomo is not the same as its cousins in other Italian metropolitan areas. Due to Sicily's heavy Arabic influences, this cathedral was once a mosque. Later remodeling from the chapel confused the architectural type of the Duomo, and it makes sense a mismatched proof of two different religions and cultures.
The Palazzo dei Normanni recalls the Golden Chronilogical age of Palermo, which coincides using the Norman occupation of 1072-1194. Some beautiful mosaics showing various Scriptural styles take presctiption display. The Galleria Regionale della Sicilia houses the best assortment of Sicilian art on the planet. Don't miss the Triumph of Dying fresco, which could leave you unsettled, however it will not make you not impressed.
For any break in the regular museum selection of works of art and sculptures, go to the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette, an art gallery dedicated to the timeless art of puppeteering. As well as for fans from the macabre, one trip to the Catacombe dei Cappucini will haunt you for that relaxation of the days. These catacombs used a preservative to keep individuals hidden here searching good. There has been no new clients for 80 years, however the mummies are supporting very well. Complete your entire day by watching the sunset over La Kalsa.
Palazzo dei Normanni - Palace of the Normans
In the heart of the historic center of Palermo, the Palace of the Normans dates back to 9th century; today it is the seat of Sicilian Parliament. The palazzo also holds the Cappella Palatina, a gorgeous, gleaming example of some of the world's most beautiful Byzantine mosaics.
Among the most important tourist attractions of Palermo are the city's Norman Cattedrale and the Saracen-Norman-Spanish Palazzo Reale (or Palazzo dei Normanni), a former royal palace added to and altered over the centuries, and now the seat of the local parliament. You can visit parts of the latter building, including the Cappella Palatina, an exquisite chapel containing rich mosaics. Other sights include La Martorana, a splendid Norman church with a Baroque facade ,the imposing Teatro Massimo and Vucciria market (which features heavily in Peter Robb's Midnight in Sicily). Plays acted by marionettes are a local tradition, and you can visit the Puppet Museum (Museo delle Marionette) to learn more about the history of the art - and see a performance if you can.
San Giovanni degli Eremiti
A symbol of the city of Palermo, this red-domed building near the Palazzo dei Normanni is reminiscent of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Though its name derives from the time it was a Benedictine abbey, Byzantine, Arab, and Norman influences make San Giovanni degli Eremiti an ideal spot for examining the architectural intersection of the many cultures that influenced the look of Palermo.
Palermo Cattedrale or Cathedral
Blocks from the Palazzo dei Normanni off of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Palermo's main drag, the Palermo Cathedral is a building of colossal proportions and varying architectural styles. Marvel at its Moorish, Gothic, and neoclassical exterior, then head inside to view Norman tombs, Greek and Roman sarcophagi,  and the jewel-encrusted crown of Catherine of Aragon.

Vucciria Market
From clothing and crafts to produce stands overflowing with Mediterranean delights, the 700-year-old Vucciria Market is a great introduction to the sights, smells, and citizens of Palermo.

Teatro Massimo
One of the most famous settings for a scene in The Godfather, Teatro Massimo is one of Italy's top opera houses and one of the largest opera houses in Europe. If you're not able to catch an opera here, there are guided visits daily (except Monday).  The monumental stairs leading up to the theater is also a favorite meeting place of Palermitani.

Catacombe dei Cappuccini - Catacombs in Palermo
Of all the places in Italy to see mummies and skeletons, Palermo's Catacombe dei Cappuccini is one of the creepiest. From the 16th century until as late as 1920, corpses were sent here for "burial" wearing their finest clothes. On view are hundreds of mummies in various states of decay. This bizarre and haunting exhibit is not for the faint of heart.

Stroll Around Quattro Canti and Piazza Pretoria
The Quattro Canti, the nexus of old Palermo known as "il teatro" (the city theater) is ideal for people watching and gentle strolls, especially so you can check out the scandalous statues that inhabit the main square of Piazza Pretoria. Once called the "Piazza Vergogna," or "Square of Shame," the Piazza Pretoria features a Mannerist fountain replete with nude marbles of river gods, tritons, and nymphs.

Beaches Near Palermo
The island capital sits on the north shore of Sicily, within a short drive of several fabulous beaches. West of the city are the beaches of San Vito lo Capo, Isola delle Femmine, and Mondello, which is also where the annual beach festival is held in May. East of Palermo are a slew of resorts and public beaches on the way to Cefalù. Within Palermo, among residential buildings, is the small beach of Arenella, which will do in a pinch if you can't get out of town.

Saints Day Festivals
Palermo lives it up during festivals for its patron saints, including San Giuseppe (March 19), Madonna della Catena (mid-August), and San Nicola (December 6-8). Palermo's main patron saint – Santa Rosalia, – has been celebrated in this city with music, parades, and much feasting, for more than 400 years. The Festa di Santa Rosalia is held each year on July 24-25. Saints day festivals are a great time to see traditional Palermo at its best.
Dining & Night life
Friend's Bar always fills up, so make sure to ahead and reserve a table. When you are sitting, you'll enjoy your garden atmosphere of the restaurant, opened up by four buddies over two decades ago. Make certain to buy Sicilian wine with dinner, or else you will be really missing out.
Charleston is definitely an elegant, fine dining restaurant, ideal for investing an intimate evening. La Scuderia (Viale del Fante 9,) is yet another trendy dining choice. Stella (Via Alloro 104) is situated in La Kalsa, the sometimes seedy but always interesting north western quadrant from the Old City. District stands out just like a Gemstone within the rough roads, and vacationers in addition to local people are attracted into it just like a sailor man to some mermaid. Al Vicolo (Cortile Scimeca,) is definitely an affordable method to enjoy authentic Sicilian cuisine.
Palermo's night life is concentrated around the city's center. Three clubs, Grant's Club (Via Principe di Paternò 80), Dancing Club (Viale Piemonte 16) and that i Candelai (Via Candelai 65) all vie for the visitor’s interest. They're each charming in their own individual way, and you'll have a lot of fun at whichever one you end up picking. If you are searching for a far more unruffled, and laidback evening, enjoy some coffee and gelato at Caffè Mazzara, or grab a concoction at the Mondello Structure Hotel.
Palermo is like a grand shopping bazaar. You'll find a little bit of everything here, including boutiques of high fashion. Many shoppers seek out the expert artisans known for their skill in producing any number of goods, especially beautiful coral jewelry. Along the streets and alleyways of La Kalsa you'll still find ironworkers and other craftsmen who continue centuries-old traditions. Embroidered fabrics are another specialty item. Some visitors come to Palermo just to purchase ceramics and antiques.
Palermo markets are the most colorful in southern Italy. At these markets, all the bounty of Sicily -- fruits, vegetables, fish -- is elegantly displayed. Since it is unlikely you will be staying in accommodations with kitchen facilities, the markets are mainly for sightseeing, although they do offer an array of clothing and crafts as well.
For the best shopping, head for Via Ruggero Settimo and Via della Libertà, north of the city's medieval core, within a 19th-century residential neighborhood of town houses and mid-20th-century apartment buildings that evoke some of the more upscale residential sections of Barcelona. Within this same neighborhood, Via Principe di Belmonte is an all-pedestrian thoroughfare with many hip and elegant shops, as well as fashionable cafes. The two other principal shopping streets in the Old Town are Via Roma and Via Maqueda.
Monday morning is the worst time to shop, as nearly all stores are closed. Otherwise, general shopping hours are Tuesday to Friday 9am to 1pm and 4 to 7 or 7:30pm, Saturday 4 to 8pm. Some department stores are open on Mondays, and some shops in the city center are open at lunchtime and generally on the first Sunday of the month. Outdoor markets such as the Capo are closed on Wednesday afternoon.
To enhance your house library, visit Libreria Flaccovio (Via Ruggero Settimo 37. The majority of the texts have been in Italian, but you will find some nicely bound British volumes available. You can purchase mirrors constructed of tortoise shells at Meli (Via Dante 294, 091/682-4213). Suit your sweet tooth at I Peccatucci di Mamma Andrea, an accumulation of Sicilian and Italian chocolates and candies. The very best masterpieces only at that family-run old fashion candy store are anything including nuts. Fruity desserts and quality gelato await you at Fratelli Magri.
If you are buying some jewelry for that special, try Fecarotta. To have an authentic Sicilian marketplace experience, join the local people and visit Vucciria. Off Via Roma, certainly one of Palermo's primary streets, Vucciria is really a veritable bazaar of local meat and convey.
Each month, Palermo hosts two outside marketplaces, in which the local people congregate to peddle their homemade wares. You will find some real deals found at Mascalucia (Piazza Trinita), that is held around the second weekend of every month. You may also unearth some hidden treasures at Giardini Naxos (Parcheggio Recanati), held around the third Saturday and last Sunday of every month.

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