The city of Palermo was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians. They named the city Zyz, after a flower, dedicated to the beauty of this area surrounded by mountains and four rivers: Kemania, Oreto, Pannaria and Papireto. Later on, the Greeks tried several times to conquer the city, but all their attempts were thwarted. Finally, only the Romans succeeded to occupy Palermo, during the First Punic War in the 3rd century BC. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Palermo suffered invasions from the Vandals and the Ostrogoths, until, in 535 AD, the Eastern Roman Empire naval fleets of Belisario succeeded in conquering the city and made it the capital of their kingdom in Southern Italy.
The Eastern Roman Empire brought into Palermo the art of decoration, characterized by marble inlays and golden mosaics. The ceilings of the Palatine Chapel and Martorana are remarkable examples.
However, the period of true prosperity began under the Arab rule (9th century AD), when Palermo became one of the main Islamic centers in the West. The city expanded and new urban neighborhoods were born beyond the boundaries of the historical center called the Cassaro (from the Arab Al Quasr, “the castle”). A place of particular beauty was created, Kalsa (from Arab word al Halisah, which means “the chosen one”), a fortified building that served as the residence of the Emir (Emir is “the ruler” in Arab).
In 1072, the city fell under the rule of the Norman Count Ruggero, but the transition did not occur in a violent manner: the merchants, artisans and the Muslim population (but also other races and religions) were allowed to continue to live and work in Palermo. It is precisely this decision that allowed the spreading of the Arabic-Norman style, a beautiful blend of architectural and decorative motifs. The Count Ruggero unified various cultures creating a state where different ethnic groups and religions coexisted peacefully. Ruggero II, the son of the Count Ruggero, created oriental-style gardens with luxurious palaces all around Palermo. He surrounds himself with writers, mathematicians, astronomers and intellectuals from all over the world. His wish was to bring the intellectual elite to Sicily and make the island the center of culture and art.
After a brief period of turmoil, Palermo and Sicily passed into the hands of Frederick II of Swabia (1212), under which the city regained centrality. From 1494 to 1759, Palermo was governed by the Viceroys, the administrators of the King of Spain, who shared power with the barons, great feudal lords in Sicily.
The nineteenth century marked the opening of the city to trade and establishing relations with Europe. The city now widens its borders. Unfortunately, recent history has not been much in favor of Palermo. It was bombarded in the World War II, followed by a strong earthquake in 1968, making the economic situation not so bright, which all led to slow but definite degradation of the medieval monuments and the city in general. Today, however, with restoration and reuse of the magnificent monuments in the city center, the Sicilians are trying to awaken this magnificent giant.
The city of canals and alleyways, numerous islands and bridges, the city of gondolas and wondrous vistas, jaw dropping architecture, postcard - perfect palaces, the city of the carnival and the masks, in a nut shell – a city one can fall in love with quite easily. All of these words seem to describe Venice as one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world. Venice offers loads to visitors: stunningly beautiful palaces and superb buildings that will take you on a trip through the rich history of this unique city, numerous canals to cross either on foot or by a gondola, a number of islands that still seem to stay hidden to most tourists, as well as a huge number of tourist sights and museums. As the saying goes, even the Venetians get lost in Venice.
The eternal city, a city of glorious past, a city of chequered history, the cradle of Roman Catholic Church - are just some attributes that distinguish Rome from other popular tourist destinations. Tourists will be able to take a peek at the beauty and glory of once the most important city in the world and to enjoy its more modern architectural marvels, mostly built by a number of different popes in quick or slow succession. Don’t just visit Colosseum and Saint Peter’s Cathedral, Rome has so much more to offer.
Ravenna is a city of history, numerous monuments that stand in silent testimony of its turbulent past as well as its fame and glory as the capital city of many an empire and kingdom. The main attractions of Ravenna are certainly its churches and mosaics that all date back to the 5th and 6th century and the early Christian societies in Europe. The scale and splendour of colorful Byzantine mosaics, their historical significance as well as monuments that date back to the Ostrogoths were even recognized by UNESCO who included eight sites in this small city on their World Heritage list. Ravenna is a city which lets its visitors to embark on a journey through history and especially through the history of Byzantine, from the civilization of which only but a faint remnant has survived throughout the world.
Milano is a city of fashion, a city fascinated with the idea of beauty, a city of stunningly beautiful Gothic architecture, a city of compelling culture, a city of the young, city of fabulous fairs and architectural accomplishments. All of these attributes seem to describe Milan, which is the business capital of Italy, which oozes its charm to its visitors in a matter of seconds. To a contemporary tourist Milan offers grand, awe inspiring buildings, a multitude of museums, riveting religious buildings, its culture as a mixture of the modern trends and the tradition that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire, glitz and glamour of its shopping malls and different nightlife zones that will appeal to the tastes of all visitors.
This is the page dedicated to Lake Garda on which you can find a complete tourist guide and suggestions about what to visit while planning your trip to the lake. Lake Garda is one of three great lakes in the northern Italy. Its lovely little towns on the shores of the lake draw an incredible number of tourists each year, who flock there for its mild and mellow climate, strolls on the lake shores, traditional Italian cuisine and of course to stand in awe before the heritage of this region laid bare for us to gaze at in a host of castles, wondrous villas and picturesque villages and dainty little towns.
The city of Pisa rises above the docks of Arno river. Pisa is one of the most important cities in Tuscany and it is well known in the world thanks to the city’s famous symbol, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We could say that Pisa is both, an ancient city, proud of it’s middle ages past, when Pisa was one of the leading naval force in Europe, and a modern city, full of positive energy that comes from its numerous students, as Pisa has three of the most important universities in Italy. Even if most famous monument in Pisa is the leaning Tower, it is not the only one in this city. Bell Tower of San Nicola Church and the church of San Michele of Scalzi are the other two leaning towers in Pisa.
With its gardens with a riot of colour, wonderful villas and splendid panoramic views Lake Como has become one of the most visited tourist places in Italy. The compellingly beautiful Lake Como seems to have enchanted artists and travelers for centuries: from famous Giuseppe Verdi and Vicenzo Bellini who apparently wrote his opera “Norma” here, to Gioacchino Rossini and a French writer Flaubert.
Lake Maggiore represents the most beautiful jewel of Piemonte region in Italy. Located between mountains and valleys, Lago Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy (after Lago di Garda), covering the surface of 212km². Almost 80% of the lake’s surface is located on Italian territory, between regions Piemonte and Lombardy, while the remaining 20% belongs to Switzerland. Here, you will have a chance to enjoy such artistic landscapes that everyone should see at least once in a lifetime. Between the emerald green vegetation and the shining blue sky stand numerous castles, sumptuous palaces and prestigious Italian gardens. These monuments testify about the link between the two noble families, which, for years, marked the history of the lake: families Visconti and Borromeo.
The city of Palermo was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians. They named the city Zyz, after a flower, dedicated to the beauty of this area surrounded by mountains and four rivers: Kemania, Oreto, Pannaria and Papireto. Later on, the Greeks tried several times to conquer the city, but all their attempts were thwarted. Finally, only the Romans succeeded to occupy Palermo, during the First Punic War in the 3rd century BC.
Florence is the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany, a city of over 400 thousand inhabitants. This city is famous for its art, its priceless and unique art heritage, which includes cultural monuments of various styles, rich museums such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, as well as magnificent villas, most of which used to belong to the famous Florence Medici family.