Palermo is classed both as a region and the capital city of the Island of Sicily. Notable for its history, culture, gastronomy and architecture, Palermo sits in the northwest of the island, next to the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The Phoenicians founded the city in 734 BC and it eventually became part of the Roman Empire. it featured as part of the Byzantine Empire for over 1000 years.
The estimated population is 1.2 million in total, but in the central area, the city has around 676,000 people. The languages spoken are Italian and the Parmitano dialect of the Sicilian language.
Additionally, Palermo is Sicily’s tourism capital. The city attracts thousands of tourists each year due to the excellent Mediterranean weather, its renowned restaurants and gastronomy. Also, it has vibrant nightlife and a music culture.
Palermo has its own international airport named Falcone–Borsellino Airport. In 2016, it handled over 5 million passengers from many different locations around Europe.
The local economy thrives on tourism, services and, agriculture. In fact, for cultural, economic and artistic reasons, this unique place, as one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean, is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe. Additionally, there is a significant underground cash or ¨black¨ economy.
The district of Catania is the second largest city in Sicily after Palermo. This area is located on the east of the island, facing the Ionian Sea. It is one of the ten biggest cities in Italy, the population of the area being over one million.
In 1434, the first university in the whole of Sicily was established in this city. Catastrophic earthquakes destroyed Catania in 1169 and 1693. Also, volcanic eruptions from Mount Etna caused damage – the most violent example of this was in 1669.
If you like the heat, August is the warmest month in Palermo with an average temperature of 27°C. The most refreshing time of year on this holiday island being January where the norm is 13°C. The month of July sees clear skies more than at any other time of year. Sunshine in July averages 10.9 hours per day. The wettest month is November with an average of 130 millimetres of rain.