The conference will take place in downtown Palermo, in Palazzo Steri (Piazza Marina 61, 90133 Palermo), a palace near the sea owned by the University of Palermo.
Located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Palermo is a buzzing Mediterranean centre, whose 1 million inhabitants are a fascinating cocktail of apparently conflicting characteristics. With its 2,700-years of history, Palermo has seen many different dominations, including the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Saracen Arabs, the Normans, the Swabians, the French, the Catalans, and the Spanish Bourbons just to name the most influential. These dominations created an intriguing fusion of people, architectural styles, languages and even ingredients used in the local dishes. The city is full of contradictions: elegant liberty villas and essential Arabic fortress, wonderful palaces and damaged buildings in the old center, baroque churches full of decorations and Norman churches with red domes, modern shopping areas and local markets (whose Arabic origins are still evident today thanks to their noise, smells, colors, narrow labyrinthine streets and the general 'souk' atmosphere).
Visiting Palermo is a continuous trip among centuries and cultures that will make your experience memorable!
A shortcut for your visit
There are many different things that can be experienced in Palermo, including historical, natural and gastronomical itineraries. As a quick reference, we here provide a short summary of all the key places of the city not to miss:
- The Royal Palace (called the Palazzo dei Normanni) with the extraordinary Cappella Palatina. It was the seat of the Kings in Sicily during the Norman domination and served afterwards as the main seat of power for the subsequent rulers of Sicily;
- the Zisa castle, a summer residence of the Norman Kings inspired by Moorish architecture. The name Zisa itself derives from the Arab term al-Azîz, meaning "noble", "glorious", "magnificent";
- the Duomo di Monreale, with its gold byzantine mosaics, and the Cathedral, which summarizing the history of the city from the byzantine times to the neo-classical ones. Emperor Frederick II, "Stupor Mundi" is buried here;
- The Baroque Churches of San Domenico, a burial-place for illustrious politicians and artists, and Casa Professa, with its unique decoration features of intricate intarsia (stone inlay);
- The Arabic-Norman Churches of San Cataldo, Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, and San Giovanni degli Eremiti with the red domes and the Chiesa dello Spasimo (in the Kalsa district);
- the Capuchin Monastery with its impressive catacombs and mummy collection, where the relatives were used to visit the deceased people whose embalmed bodies were exposed. This somehow macabre attraction is an interesting representation of the deep relationship between life and death for Sicilians;
- the Gardens: the English Garden, villa Malfitano, the Botanical Garden, villa Garibaldi and the Favorita's Park, where it's possible to admire many exotic plants, secular trees, as well as statues and fountain;
- the Opera Houses: Teatro Massimo, the biggest lyric theater in Italy designed by Giovan Battista Filippo Basile renowned for its perfect acoustics, and the neoclassic Politeama;
- the Squares: piazza Pretoria with the fountain by the same name, and the Quattro Canti, octagonal square, crossroad to the two most important streets in the city, via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emanuele;
- the Markets of Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo. These are the perfect place to discover the ingredients of Sicilian cooking and the local market atmospheres;
- the Holy Mountain: Monte Pellegrino, according to Goethe the most beautiful promontory of the world, with the Santuario di Santa Rosalia. The Sanctuary, dedicated to the saint of the city, is located in a cave, where originally there was a Phoenician sanctuary;
- the Beach: Modello, the sandy beach lying between Monte Pellegrino and Monte Gallo. Born as a small fishing village close to Palermo, it is now a center of tourism and the home of the World Windsurfing Festival.
More information here