The vintage Palermo
A Sicilian city, Palermo is historically very old, renowned and vibrant place located on the Tyrrhenian Sea but its transformation into a modern city full of cultural, musical, artistic events attracting tourist is quite remarkable. Its history runs through Greco Roman ages to the modern Italian Unification. It has now a strong catholic impact, the patron-saint of the city being, St.Rosalia, whose day falls on 15th July evoking gala fanfare and events on that day drawing thousands of tourists from all over Europe.
The city had a great role in the promotion of Christianity as it was one of the oldest townships surviving from the days of Greek culture. Palermo Cathedral, San Giovanni dei Lebbrossi, San Cartaldo, Oratario del Rosario and a score more churches and cathedrals adorn the place. Some of the churches date back to 12th and 13th centuries and reconstructed according to the exigencies of the time. They portray the symbol of faith and a pious way of life which was characteristic of the Middle Ages. Some of the churches built in the last three hundred years or so do reflect the thoughtful changes in external appearance!
There are some great architectural pieces in the form of palaces and museums in Palermo.Notable among them is Palazzo dei Normanni, the Norman Palace with a striking grace. Today it houses the legislature of Sicily. Zisa is a castle of the 11th century and a representative survival of a dwelling used for hunting purposes. One could still discern an old-world charm about the place. Today there is a museum of Islamic antiquities housed in Zisa. Another old castle of fame is Cuba. Palazzo Chiramonte and Abatatellis are great constructions. Goethic and Renaissance influences can be seen in the latter. There are many fine museums in the city as well, the important one being the Musei Archeologico Regionale.
Teatro Massimo or Greatest Theatre truly lives up to its name. It is an Opera House with a breath-taking exterior, full of grace and charm. Of course the events inside held periodically are of high quality as it plays the role of doyen among artistic and cultural activities of the town. Teatro Politema is another great opera house which must be seen by the visitor. There are of course plenty of nice parks which with attractive trees offer a rest place.Monte Pellegrino is a small 600 metre hillock close to the city from where one can have a magnificent view of the city.
Special mention must me made about the reputation of Palermo as a delight for the gluttons. Without being offensive to those who love food, it is said that even people with apparently insatiable lust for food would be stumped by the variety and taste of food available in Palermo. There are many places of excellent ambience where one could taste the different local recipes. The specialties of the locale apart, different European types of food are also available to the satisfaction of the visitors.
There are good villas available for staying during the holidays in Palermo. One could have the feel of the place as a resident by living in these villas for a few days! There are, of course, comfortable accommodation available for different categories of tourists from star facilities to moderate comforts for budget tourists. The hospitality of the people is well-known.
The sea, a small mountain, a quiet countryside, a great deal of medieval architecture and many grand modern buildings—Palermo presents a fine blend of the past and present. You do not find the bustle of modern cities here but a very leisurely approach to life which pleases a holiday approach.