Icon of Palermo’s summer, Mondello is the seaside village of the city. Its location, right along the coast, makes it a summer tourist destination par excellence.
Hard to believe today, until the end of the 1800s Mondello was just a swampy basin surrounded by muddy and inhospitable land, except for a small fishing village of which there are still traces. Nevertheless, the area had been used as a lookout post since the Arab times thanks to the strategic location of the gulf ends, therefore Mondello (called by the Arabs Marsa ‘at Tin, “port of mud”) has always been a center of interest despite its unfriendly characteristics.
Mondello’s transformation mainly depended on the status of the city of Palermo during the 1800s: at the time, the metropolitan area was an important center for the economy of all Europe and noblemen and high-level merchants had settled in its streets, which led to the hypothesis of reclaiming the marshy area located west of the city not only to build new homes and villas but also to create a new connection point on sea.
On the initiative of Prince Francesco Lanza di Scalea, the drainage of marshy waters was started in 1891 and within a few years the area became more and more inhabited, becoming in the early decades of the 1900s the container of some of the main examples of art-nouveau architecture in the city, because of the sumptuous villas that were built along the coast. In a few years the area was considered a real earthly paradise, which was made increasingly available to the city with the creation of the first seaside resorts, still in use today.
Over the years the neighborhood has become the center of summer life in the area, with important sporting and cultural events: today Mondello is a fundamental stop for those who want to visit Palermo, thanks to the crystal-clear sea and the peculiarity and liveliness of the seaside village, which rises between the sea and the slopes of Monte Pellegrino.