Palermo is a city of limitless excitement and compelling contradictions. Difficult to define yet impossible to ignore, a classic city of the Mediterranean south, bold, blaring and enticing. At one time an Arab emirate and seat of a Norman kingdom, it became Europe's grandest city in the 11th century. Today, it is known more for its decrepitude than decadence.
But behind the decay, Palermo is a beautiful city with a reserve of cultural, architectural and historical wealth to rival any of Europe's great capitals. The city's role as a crossroads between East and West has resulted in an intoxicating cultural cross-fertilisation, which finds its best expression in the city's architectural mix, a fusion of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Renaissance and baroque.