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The happy side of Palermo

The happy side of Palermo

The burning summer sun descending over the desuete piazza where history mingles with the mundane of an old woman selling flowers… and the soundtrack from “The Godfather”. This is Sicily for most of us, with its (almost romantic) tales of the Mafia and old air.

Nevertheless, before this Italian region became symbolic of all these pop culture elements – some of which might make every other person somewhat reluctant to the idea of visiting – it used to be a flourishing region with an ancient history and dozens of stories to tell. So today we are going to talk about the happy side of Palermo.

Palermo is the capital city of the Region Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The foundation of the city (set around 8000 BC) has been largely attributed to the Phoenicians. Throughout the centuries, Palermo became part of the Roman Empire, then integrated in the Byzantine Empire, conquered by the Arabs, the Normans and finally reunited to Italy in 1860.

Palermo is a beautifully eclectic city, but with all the hype surrounding the negative aspects correlated to the Southern part of Italy, along with legends of the Mafia, poverty and corruption, the artistic and cultural side of the metropolis has been left aside.

Notwithstanding, Palermo is home to countless historical sites, such as the Cappella Palatina, the Piazza Pretoria, the grand Cathedral of Palermo, the largest opera house in Italy (Teatro Massimo, opened in 1897) or the Museum of Inquisition. Palermo has also been recognized as the European Capital of Street Food, making the top 5 best places to eat awesome food for low prices in the world.

The Etna, the tallest active volcano, is also located here. This explains the wonderfully rich soil and the beauty of the nature.

Over the years, Palermo has made intensive efforts to fight the negative paradigm and impose itself as a redeveloped, prominent region. If you wish to drive through the city during your Sicilian tour, you can rent a car in Palermo for really accessible prices.