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Overview

Sicily's capital city, Palermo, is superbly sited on a beautiful bay underneath a magnificent mountain, Monte Pellegrino. It fronts onto the rich, fertile Conca d'Oro (Golden Shell) valley. This is a city with many layers of history: in the fifth century it was conquered by the Carthaginians, the Greeks took it away from them, then in 254 BC the Romans conquered it. Palermo saw its best times when it came under Arab rule in 831 AD. The city prospered and became an Islamic cultural and educational center under the Arabs, then two centuries later the Normans developed it into Europe's greatest metropolis. There is no other city in Italy or ...

Sicily's capital city, Palermo, is superbly sited on a beautiful bay underneath a magnificent mountain, Monte Pellegrino. It fronts onto the rich, fertile Conca d'Oro (Golden Shell) valley. This is a city with many layers of history: in the fifth century it was conquered by the Carthaginians, the Greeks took it away from them, then in 254 BC the Romans conquered it. Palermo saw its best times when it came under Arab rule in 831 AD. The city prospered and became an Islamic cultural and educational center under the Arabs, then two centuries later the Normans developed it into Europe's greatest metropolis. There is no other city in Italy or Sicily like Palermo. Visiting here is thrilling, but can be a challenge: traffic is terrible; cars, trucks, and buses clog the narrow streets and can create gridlock for hours. Pollution hangs over the city, covering everything with dust. Despite all this, Palermo is a jewel of the Mediterranean. It is here that you will come not just to know Sicily, but to understand it.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Frances Folsom for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The best months for warm but not hot weather are May, June, September and October.