Palermo Port

Mediterranean Cruise

Palermo is the capital city of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, and the small mass of land right next to the toe of Italy’s “boot.” All of Sicily’s official business is conducted here in its largest city, with 900,000 people calling this northern port town home.

Sicily has one of the world’s most fascinating histories, mainly due to the diverse backgrounds of the people who have ruled this small island through the centuries. Sicily has been inhabited since the Phoenicians called it home. In succession, the Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, and Bourbons have all controlled Sicily. Each ruler’s influence can still be felt today. It can be seen in the flaxen-haired descendants of the Normans or by noting that Palermo’s Duomo was originally a mosque.

Palermo’s old town is in the middle of the city, and is divided into four quarters. Much of what there is to see in Palermo can be found within the confines of the “four corners,” as the city center is known.

In a microcosm, Palermo represents Sicily, and Italy for that matter. Tradition is highly respected here, with family and religion at the center of most of what goes on here. The Mafia, which used to completely run this island, has lost ground due to the recent election of a high profile, anti-Mafia mayor. But crime is rampant in the city, and women traveling alone should guard their valuables extremely closely. Some of the world’s best pickpockets and con artists use Palermo as their training grounds, so travelers are advised to be at their sharpest when walking the streets of Palermo.

The city’s combination of backgrounds is what attracts people here the most. Unique architecture and interesting museum exhibits help the city stand out. But it is the manner of the people here that most people find most charming. The exuberance, the animation, the joie de vivre (pardon my French) of Sicilians is contagious.






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