One of the most magical cities in the world, Palermo, after years under the thumb of the Mafia, is finally re-emerging as one of Europe’s great capitals. Nestled in the Conca d’Oro and flanked by the dramatic Monte Pellegrino and Capo Zafferano, this rough and tumble city was fought over for centuries by everyone from the Phoenicians to the Spaniards to the Allies and the city’s fascinating art, architecture and food are an intriguing melting pot of Arab, African and European influences. Palermo’s centro storico is noisy, chaotic and life enhancing, bursting with crumbling palazzos, churches and piazzas that are a joy to explore. Palermo perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Sicily: unpretentious, gritty, and a natural beauty.
Palermo is best explored over a long weekend at any time of the year apart from July, August and up to mid-September when the residents evacuate to the coast and the city gasps in a dry baking heat. Ideally it is best combined with three or four days either exploring the magnificent coastline or driving through the countryside.
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