Palermo

Palermo (/pəˈlɛərm, -ˈlɜːr-/ pə-LAIR-moh, -LUR-,[3] Italian: [paˈlɛrmo] (listen); Sicilian: Palermu [paˈlɛmmʊ], locally also Paliemmu or Palèimu;[4] Latin: Panormus, from Ancient Greek: Πάνορμος, romanized: Pánormos; older Arabic: بَلَرْم‎, romanized: Balarm) is a city in southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo, the city's surrounding metropolitan province. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is in the northwest of the island of Sicily, by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Palermo
Palermu  (Sicilian)
Comune di Palermo
Clockwise from top: Mondello, Teatro Massimo, Cappella Palatina, Zisa, Cathedral, Virgin Annunciate of Antonello da Messina, Quattro Canti in Maqueda Street, Churches of Martorana and San Cataldo, Interior of Santa Caterina Church, Pretoria Square and Mount Pellegrino
The municipality of Palermo within the Metropolitan City of Palermo
Location of Palermo
Palermo
Location of Palermo in Sicily
Palermo
Palermo (Sicily)
Coordinates: 38°07′N 13°22′E
CountryItaly
RegionSicily
Metropolitan cityPalermo (PA)
Founded736 BC
Government
  MayorLeoluca Orlando (PD)
Area
  Total158.9 km2 (61.4 sq mi)
Elevation
14 m (46 ft)
Population
 (31 January 2013)[2]
  Total676,118 (city)
1,300,000 (metro)
Demonym(s)Palermitano
Panormito
Palermitan (English)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
90100
Dialing code091
ISTAT code082053
Patron saintSaint Rosalia, Saint Agata, Saint Oliva and Saint Benedict the Moor
Saint day14 July
WebsiteOfficial website

The city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Sis (“flower”). Palermo then became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos; the Carthaginians used this name on their coins after the 5th century BC. As Panormus, the town became part of the Roman Republic and Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city became the capital of Sicily for the first time. The Arabs shifted the Greek name into Balarm,[5][6] the root for Palermo's present-day name. Following the Norman conquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily, that lasted from 1130 to 1816.[7]

The population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, poetically, panormiti. The languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language.

Palermo is Sicily's cultural, economic and tourism capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art, music and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its appealing Mediterranean climate, its renowned gastronomy[citation needed] and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque[8] and Art Nouveau[9] churches, palaces and buildings, and its nightlife and music.[10] Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services, commerce and agriculture.[11] Palermo currently has an international airport, and a significant underground economy.[citation needed] In fact, for cultural, artistic and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and in Europe and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe. It is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. The city is also going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area.[12]

Roman Catholicism is highly important in Palermitan culture. The Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia whose Feast Day is celebrated on 15 July. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is widely known for its colourful fruit, vegetable and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo.[13]