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Palermo History, Italy

Within the southern Italian peninsula lies a city, which is one of the treasures of the Roman and Byzantium legacy. This is the magnificent city of Palermo. It is the capital of the region of Palermo and is geographically situated within the confines of the autonomous Sicily. Like any other Italian city, the city of Palermo also boasts its rich cultural and historical treasure that has been a product of evolution, two millennia and seven centuries in the making.

The history of the city of Palermo can be traced roughly sometime around late 8th century B.C. to mid 6th century B.C. Its humble beginning is credited to the colonization of some minor tribes in the vicinity by the Phoenicians. During the onset of war between Rome and Carthage, the city of Palermo was annexed to Carthage. However, in 354 B.C., the city was declared as a Roman free town, following the defeat of Carthage and the victory of the Roman Empire. The role of Palermo as a Roman free town ended with the fall of the western segment after the great division. The continuous threat posed by the barbaric tribes called Ostrogoths left the city with little prestige and value. It was at this point that it was brought down under the rule of the Byzantine Empire for over three centuries.

Following the defeat of the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs, the city of Palermo fell on the hands of the Arab invaders. It was on this point that the city prospered under the Arab influence. The Arab occupation in the city lasted until 1072 when the long siege initiated by the Normans overthrew the Arab rule. After this development, a series of events left the city of Palermo to a number of outside influences that include the Swabians, the French and the Spaniards. Each of these influences has left something in the culture and history of the city that has contributed to its uniqueness.

The city of Palermo was formally annexed to the Kingdom of Italy after the Sicilian revolt that ousted the Spanish dominion in 1860 through the leadership of Garibaldi. The formal incorporation of the city of Palermo to the unified Kingdom of Italy took place in 1870. Since then, the city prospered as one of the premier destinations in Italy with its unique array of museums, churches, buildings and culture.

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