Visiting Palermo means diving into the deepest and most intense core of the Mediterranean culture. Its Phoenician name was Zyz, “Flower”, and with that name it became one of the main bases for the Phoenician – and then Carthaginian – invasion of Sicily. Many different civilizations followed one another in this sunny land, deeply influencing its architectural and monumental structure and creating an extremely balanced cultural alchemy. Palermo was originally inhabited by the Phoenicians, followed by the Carthaginians and by the Romans in 254 B.C., who made it one of the most important cities of the area. During the following years, the city was seized by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Longobards and the Byzantines, until a time of great splendour for the city began with the Arabian conquest. In the 11th century Palermo was conquered by the Normans and Swabians; that is the time of Frederick II’s rein, when Palermo became a famous cultural centre all over Europe. Afterwards the city passed to the hands of the Angevins, of the Aragoneses and eventually to the hands of the Bourbons. After the Expedition of the Thousand, Palermo finally became part of the Kingdom of Italy.