Discover where to stay in Palermo, capital of Sicily
Palermo, a melting pot of cultures
Palermo is the capital and largest city of Sicily, the island just off the coast of the boot-shaped Italian Peninsula. Located on the Tyrrhenian coastline of Sicily, Palermo has existed since 734 BC, and has been a prized possession of many an empire, including the Romans, the Byzantines and the Holy Roman Empire, of which it was briefly the capital. This colourful history has contributed to the cultural hive of activity that can be experienced today, with an agreeable Mediterranean climate, delectable cuisine and amazing architecture combining to make this Sicilian setting perfect for a luxury getaway.
Experience the historical and culture side of Sicily
Life in the city of Palermo revolves around its numerous churches, many of which owe their origins to Norman architects, who reigned supreme in Sicily once upon a time. The Cathedral is the perfect place in which to begin your stay, with the variety of different styles represented in Palermo’s architecture giving visitors a visual reminder of its cosmopolitan and often turbulent past. Another notable, although non-religious, building is the Palazzo dei Normanni, the current seat of local government. The palace is inspired by Arab, Norman and Spanish styles, and contains several pieces of priceless artwork, including 12th century Byzantine frescoes.
Once you’ve got all the historical business out of the way, you’ll be wanting to delve into the heart of Palermo. Piazza Marina and Via Ruggero Settimo are the main locations in the old town and new city respectively, so you may want to ensure you’re staying close to one of these places, which host a number of interesting shops and vibrant cafes and restaurants. Alternatively, take a day out at Mondello beach, where locals flock when the weather is particularly good.
Sample the mouthwatering local cuisine
Italy is world-renowned for its food and drink, and just because you’re no longer on the mainland, Sicily, and Palermo, is no exception. Street food is particularly popular, with a visit to the lively Santandrea in Piazza Sant'Andrea a must, if only for the market stalls and small ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants serving up the finest pizza, pasta and pane e panelle (a local, chickpea-based delicacy) for miles around. Sicily is a notable wine-growing region, and thus you’ll be offered a glass with most meals. For something stronger, try the local liqueur, limoncello.
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