Stretching over a large inlet at the foot of Mount Pellegrino, Palermo was one of the most flourishing cities in the Mediterranean area and still remains an extremely fascinating city that hides authentic jewels of art, inherited from Arab, Norman and Spanish periods of splendor.
Its millenary history has given it, in fact, a remarkable artistic and architectural heritage, in an original mix of Arab-Romanesque-Byzantine decorations that has no equal in Italy.
The splendor of Palermo begins with the Arab domination (from the 9th to the 11th century), which transformed the city into one of the richest in Europe, like Cairo, in Egypt. Known as the "City of Delights", due to its maze of gardens, alleys and elegant buildings, Palermo still maintains its cosmopolitan and multicultural character, also thanks to the ancient port leaning towards the East.
A city of contrasts and harmonies at the same time, it offers unique walks among Baroque churches, Norman palaces, neoclassical buildings, and markets that look like Arab souks, and it is a pleasure to get lost in the streets where you can enjoy the traditional "street" rotisserie while enjoying a puppet show. An unmissable show, so much so that Unesco has declared the Puppet Opera House an intangible heritage of humanity.
A few kilometers from Palermo, Monreale, with its 12th century cathedral decorated with golden Byzantine mosaics, and the beach of Mondello, are two of the absolutely unmissable destinations.
The city beach of Palermo extends between Monte Pellegrino and Capo Gallo. The many equipped lidos along the beach are equipped with every comfort (don't miss the Antico Establishment of Mondello, in full 1920s style).
Just an hour by train, you should also make time for Cefalu. This ancient seaside town is among the most beautiful villages in Italy and the Norman Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.