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Palermo is the capital of the main Italian island of Sicily, located on the north coast of the island.
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Points of Interest in Palermo
Because of its variety of monuments, attesting to its long and rich history, and the number of other cultural and naturalistic attractions, Palermo can offer a very interesting experience to the visitor interested in exploring it.
- Cathedral - honey-coloured and Catalan influenced. Frederick II, Barbarossa's son, died in 1250 and is buried here, far from his ancestral home above Hohenstaufen, Germany. Frederick's sarcophagus is of porphyry dyed with imperial purple.
- Quattro Canti - the symbolic crossroads at the old centre of the city and the nearby small, but pretty La Martorana church with Byzantine mosaics inside.
- Museo Archeologico
- Catacombe dei Cappuccini, open daily 9AM-12 noon and 3PM-5PM, entrance is €3 - the catacombs of the Capuchin convent located on the Piazza Cappuccini, just west of the city centre, contain over 8000 mummified ex-residents from Palermo and its surrounding villages, some merely clothed skeletons, other remarkably well-preserved and lifelike. Well worth a visit, interesting, if slightly morbid. Children may either find it exciting or terrifying and it must be the responsibility of their parents to think carefully before taking them.
- Palazzo dei Normanni. Inside, don't miss the mosaics in the Cappella Palatina and the old Royal Apartments
- street markets, especially near the Piazza del Carmine and Vucciria. At the Ballaro there is a huge variety of fresh fruits on offer.
- Piazza Garraffello near Vucciria on Friday nights a DJ is playing open air if the weather is good. Huge crowd dancing. There are also lots of bars right next to the square.
- Piazza Pretoria, including the Fontana Pretoria
- The Gesu Church is one of the most architecturally important in Palermo. Constructed between 1564–1633, it's late date of completion resulted in an abundant use of polychrome marbles on both floors and walls. This form of decoration, which gradually evolved in Sicily from the beginning of the 17th century, was a mark of the beginning of the Sicilian Baroque period, which was to give Sicily almost an architectural national identity.
- San Giovanni degli Eremiti, ☎ +39 91 6515019. Via dei Bernadetti. Old church ruin and nice garden. The €6 admission ensures that the lovely garden is quiet and peaceful. Open mo-sa 9AM-7PM.
- Cappella Palatina, ☎ +39 091 7054317. Piazza Indipendenza. Chapel with mosaics. It's one of the artistic gems of Palermo, magnificent mosaics and Arabian-style decorations, among the most beautiful in the world. Open mo-fr 9-11. 45AM and 3-4.45PM. Sa 9-11.45AM. Su 9-9.45AM, 12-12.45PM.
- The Zisa and the Cuba, Arabic-Norman royal palaces. The Zisa is in Piazza Zisa; the Cuba in Corso Calatafimi.
- Monreale - a village/suburb 8 km west of Palermo, sitting on the hill with a great view back towards the city and the sea. Be sure to visit the Duomo (Cathedral) and its cloisters too.
Capital of Sicily, founded by Phoenicians under the name of "Ziz" (= Flower, but the meaning is still doubtful), later renamed by Greeks "Panormos" which means "all port", it reached its golden age during the Arab domination (IX-XI centuries A.C.) when it became one of the most prosperous cities in the Mediterranean and Europe, known as "city of delights" for its marvelous and lavish gardens, as well as for magnificent mosques and palaces. After being conquered by the Normans (1060-1080 A.C.), most of palaces and mosques were destroyed, but the new rulers exploited the cosmopolitan environment of Palermo and the artists, architects and masters from different cultural roots giving the birth to a unique architectural style, the so-called "Arab-Norman Style of Sicily", which is an original mixture of arabesque decorations, Romanesque architecture and Byzantine mosaics. After being home to one of the most famous Emperors of the Middle Ages, Frederik II fo Swabi, named "Stupor Mundi" by contemporaries, Palermo began its decadence under the influence of several dominations (French, Aragonians, Spanish and Borbons from Naples. In the mid of XIX century, during the so-called "Italian Risorgimento" Palermo was one the leading revolutionary cities in Italy, strongly contributing to the success of the "Mille" (literally "one thousand") patriots' expedition lead by the famous Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi which ended with the reunification of Italy under the Savoy dynasty from Turin (1860). Nowadays Palermo faces several problems affecting its economic development, mainly because of the presence of the very powerful criminal organization known worldwide as "Mafia" or "Cosa Nostra". The city's economy is based on local government institutions, port, shipbuilding industry and the mechanical industry. It is also seat to some important Sicilian wine making companies (like Tasca d'Almerita, Duca di Salaparuta, Corvo, Planeta, etc.) whose popularity in the world is growing.
Try specialties of Palermo like panino con la milza or panelle, in one of the many sandwich stands in the old city center.
- Antica Focacceria S. Francesco, Via A Paternostro, 58 (In the small piazza in front front of S. Francecso church). A deservedly popular top quality restaurant serving fine Sicilian food in the open air. Bookings recommended at weekends. Main courses €15, fast food €5.
- Il Proverbio, ☎ +39091 6173267. Via Discesa 24. Close to station and Quattro Canti. Great Sicilian food, most dishes are €4-6.
- Al Chioschetto. Pz. Indipendenza Di Fronte N. 31. Close to the new gate. Excellent fresh panini and salads. They keep all the ingredients in a cooled glass counter, makes the panini from scratch when you order, using only freshly cut pieces of meat.
- Le pergamene, Piazza Marina 48 (near of the Palazzo chiaramonte steri), ☎ 091 6166142.
- Pizza Gaetano, Via XII Gennaio, 1/Q, ☎ +39 091 6014544. Authentic pizza and pasta dishes. Not touristy at all. $.
- Pipi Room, V. XX Settembre 59. Antipasto, pizzas, etc. $.
- Isola Saporita, ☎ +390916527506. Corso Vittorio Emanuele 504 (opposite the cathedral). Good selection of wine, oil, marmelade, sauces, etc.
- The "Pizzo free" shops are a group of shopkeepeers that refuse to pay the racket to the Mafia. The Palermitan consumers sustain them by going shopping in their stores. These shops are easily recognisable by a sticker in the shop/restaurant window. You can find the list here: . If you'd prefer your whole trip to be "pizzo-free" there is a special website for travelers here: 
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Palermo on Wikivoyage.