Palermo shows itself in all its beauty not only for what it offers in the city center, but also in the surrounding areas. Among the most famous is certainly Mondello: a mix of history, nature and entertainment that attracts hundreds of tourists every year. Let’s get to know the tourist resort of the Sicilian capital in more detail.
A bit of history
The first settlements in the area date back to the Paleolithic, when prehistoric men took refuge in caves that were formed around Monte Pellegrino. Over the centuries, the inhabitants of this area have gone from living only hunting to then learning other activities such as fishing, cultivation of the land and animal husbandry.
Mondello then experienced a period of Phoenician domination while later, during the First Punic War, the Carthaginian general Amilcare Barca conquered today’s Monte Pellegrino and set his camp there for three years. A choice due to the poor accessibility of the area, which allowed the Carthaginians to better defend themselves from attacks by the Romans.
During the period of Arab domination, Mondello took the name of “Marsa ‘at Tin” and was improved especially as regards the town’s water supply.
Another important period for the area was the Second World War, during which Monte Pellegrino was confirmed as a strategic point both from a defensive point of view and from the location of enemy aircraft.
The beauties of Mondello
Mondello hosts places of interest that refer to various historical periods. In ancient times, caves were formed around Monte Pellegrino, known today as the Addaura Caves, in which engravings depicting the habits of prehistoric men were found. Another important cave in the area is the Grotta Regina, famous for drawings and inscriptions dating back to the Punic and Neopunic times.
Mondello is also known for hosting many Art Nouveau villas, characterized by columns, friezes and paintings and completely wrapped in plants and flowers. The most particular of all is undoubtedly Villa Caboto, around which many urban legends revolve related to the presence of ghosts in the house. Finally, the historic center of Mondello should not be underestimated, where it is possible to take excellent walks and immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful towns in Palermo.
Activities to do in Mondello
In the Mondello area it is possible to make many beautiful excursions, including the one to visit the Monte Pellegrino Nature Reserve. It is a logo that hosts an extremely luxuriant flora, largely belonging to the Mediterranean scrub.
Some examples are the dwarf palm, euphorbia, mastic, caper and heather. There are also numerous species of animals, including mammals (fox, wild rabbit and Sicilian crocidura), birds (solitary sparrow, finch, serin, octopus and wood pigeon) and birds of prey (peregrine falcon, buzzard, kestrel and owl). There are also types of reptiles such as the field lizard, the green lizard, the gongilo and the rat snake.
Also on Monte Pellegrino is the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia, built around the seventeenth century and dedicated to the patron saint of Palermo.
Mondello offers both meat and fish dishes, always of the highest quality and made with native products. To taste the fish specialties of Palermo cuisine, a good place is the Trattoria Da Franco L’Angolo in Mondello, which is located in the center of the Palermo municipality.
If, on the other hand, you need a restaurant that also offers dishes from the land as well as those from the sea, the Fratelli Testaverde Gastronomy meets both these needs. Among the dishes that you should eat during your stay in Mondello are Sicilian arancini and crocchè, Sicilian cassata and cannoli, aubergine caponata and pasta with lanciova (a typical Sicilian recipe based on anchovies).
In addition to its artistic and historical beauties, Mondello is famous for its beach, considered one of the most beautiful and evocative both in the province of Palermo and in the whole of Sicily. It is located between Monte Pellegrino and Monte Gallo: a location that adds a naturalistic touch to this stretch of coast.
Its sand is white and is bathed by a crystalline sea: an ideal place to relax but, in the three summer months, it welcomes hundreds of tourists. A particularly popular destination not only for the beauty of this stretch of coast, but also for the numerous services offered by the bathing establishments and for the dense presence of clubs that allow tourists to have fun until late at night.
How to come
If you are in Palermo, it will be extremely easy and fast to reach Mondello. This tourist resort is 8 km from the Sicilian capital and, starting from the center of Palermo, there are public transport that allow you to reach Mondello. In particular, bus lines 544 are very interesting which, at a cost of 2 euros, allows you to reach Lido di Monello in about 35 minutes.