Port of Palermo
Review and History

The Port of Palermo is the capital of Italy’s island of Sicily. Lying at the head of the Bay of Palermo in Northwest Sicily, it is the island’s main port, operating passenger and merchant lines to Naples and Tunisia and handling most of the foreign trade. The Port of Palermo exports citrus fruit, fresh fish, cereal, and chemicals. Local industries include ship repair and the manufacture of glass, cement, chemicals, processed foods, and machinery. In 2006, almost 671 thousand people called the Port of Palermo of home.

The Port of Palermo is an ancient city with a history reaching back almost three thousand years, and it is an architectural and cultural center for the island of Sicily and all of Italy. As is all of Sicily, the Port of Palermo is well-known for the powerful Mafia families that operate there.

Port History

Archaeological evidence in the form of cave drawings suggests that humans have lived in the

Port of Palermo area since about 8000 BC. Phoenician traders founded the Port of Palermo in the 8th Century BC. Greek culture dominated the island for some time, and they called the village Panormus, meaning “all-port,” due to its excellent natural harbor.

Under Greek rule, the Port of Palermo was a commercial and trade center, but struggles for power between Greece and Carthage led to the Sicilian Wars. During the Pyrrhic War era in the late 3rd Century BC, the Port of Palermo became a colony of Greece.

The Romans captured the Port of Palermo just 30 years later in 254 BC. Under the Romans, the Port of Palermo fell into decay, although it was used as a trade port. Then after the fall of Rome, several Germanic tribes ruled the Port of Palermo. The Vandals invaded in 440 AD, and they were followed by the Goths and the Ostrogoths.

The Byzantine Empire conquered the Port of Palermo, taking it from the Ostrogoths in 535 AD. It was the first part of Italy to be taken by the eastern Roman, or Byzantine Empire. The

Port of Palermo remained part of the Empire for many centuries, except for a short time when it was under Arab rule.

Under the Arabs and the Byzantine Empire, the Port of Palermo flourished on trade with North Africa. It first became a seat of government under the Arabs. The Arab rulers traded freedom of religion for taxes. By the end of their rule, the Port of Palermo was a splendid and important city.

After Norman conquest, the Port of Palermo was returned to Christianity and made the capital of the new Kingdom of Sicily from 1130 until 1816. This was an era of building as Sicily grew in wealth and influence. In 1194, it came under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire, and Emperor Frederick II favored the Port of Palermo. The Port of Palermo was under Angevin rule in the middle 13th Century. In the late 15th Century, the kingdom of Spain briefly ruled, and the Port of Palermo was controlled by the house of Savoy and Austria in the 18th Century.

The new kingdom was then combined with the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples and remained part of the “Two Sicilies” until it became part of the unified Italy in 1860. During the era of the Two Sicilies, the Port of Palermo lost much financial and political status. The Port of Palermo rebelled and withstood Naples for a year in the middle 19th Century.

Sicily was annexed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, giving the Port of Palermo opportunities to regain its former glory. It became the capital of the island, and industry and the economy began to grow. The Port of Palermo grew beyond its ancient boundaries in the late 19th Century, and great public buildings arose. The Port of Palermo became one of Italy’s centers for the Art Nouveau style.

During World War II, the Port of Palermo remained undamaged until the Allied invasion in 1943. In 1947, Sicily became an autonomous region within Italy, and the Port of Palermo once again began to prosper.

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