When you arrive in Palermo, you will surely hear about the “Càssaro”, an exotic sounding name that reminds us of a distant time when Palermo was the capital of a wealthy emirate.
Cassaro is the ancient name of the current Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the main city artery since the foundation of Palermo by the Phoenicians in the eighth century BC.
Palermo was in fact born with the Phoenicians who built the ancient city, Paleapolis precisely, on a promontory where the Palazzo dei Normanni now stands.
The Cassaro (from the Arabic Qsar which means own palace, castle) was therefore the main road that connected the fortified city with the sea.
Until the Spanish period and therefore until the 16th century, the Cassaro was shorter than we know it today; it was extended to the sea only in 1581.
The Cassaro, called in Baroque times via Toledo (from the name of the then viceroy Garcìa de Toledo) and then Strada Marmorea (it was in fact the first street of Palermo to be paved in stone in 1704), is enclosed at the two ends by two beautiful doors : Porta Nuova on the side of the mountains and Porta Felice on the side of the sea. Between the two doors there is a difference in height of 28 meters which creates a spectacular perspective view of the entire artery; do not miss the opportunity to enclose in a single glance the two doors with all the long Cassaro that winds through it in the center and which represents the heart of the city, a heart that, with all its fascinating and rich succession of noble palaces and religious buildings , Pulsates and gives life to our city for almost three millennia.
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