Marsala is an Italian town located in the Province of Trapani in the westernmost part of Sicily. Marsala is the fifth in Sicily; the town is famous for its Marsala wine. A feature of the area is the Stagnone Lagoon Natural Reserve — a marine area with salt ponds. Marsala is built on the ruins of the ancient Carthaginian city of Lilybaeum, includes in its territory the archaeological site of the island of Motya, an ancient Phoenician town; the modern name derived from the Arabic مَرْسَى عَلِيّ, or مَرْسَى اللّٰه. Situated at the extreme western point of Sicily, the town was founded on Lilibeo Cape from where the Aegadian Islands and the Stagnone Lagoon can be seen; the territory of Marsala, 241 square kilometres, has a rich landscape heritage. The city of Marsala had a population of about 86,000 until the end of 1970, when Petrosino, a village part of Marsala, decided to become a self-governing town after a local referendum; the area of Marsala is classified as a seismic zone 2. In the last 200 years three earthquakes of medium-high intensity were recorded: 18 May 1828 – magnitude 5.17 15 January 1968 – Belice earthquake which in Marsala reached VII Mercalli scale.
7 June 1981 – magnitude 4.60 with epicentre in Borgo Elefante in Mazara del Vallo, about 20 kilometres from the town-centre of Marsala. Marsala has a hot-summer mediterranean climate, similar to most coastal towns in Sicily, with hot and dry summers coupled with moderately wet and mild winters. Weather in Marsala is similar to that of nearby Trapani. Summers are warm with a record maximum temperature of 37 °C in August 2017. In the summer, due to how dry it is, it is not unusual to experience the effect of Sirocco wind, which brings dust and sand from the Sahara. Winters are rainy and cooler with temperatures ranging between minimum of 1 °C and 21 °C. Snowfall occurs rarely, since the temperature has never dropped below freezing, although snow has fallen before, for example in December 2014. In 397 BC the Phoenician colony of Motya on the southwestern coast of Sicily was invaded and destroyed by the Syracusan tyrant Dionysius I; the survivors founded a town on the mainland nearby, the site of modern-day Marsala, which they called by a Punic name meaning "Town that Looks on Libya".
This was recorded in Latin as Lilybaeum. The First Punic War began here when the Punic army landed at Lilybaion in 265–264 BCE marched across Sicily to Messina, where the opening clash of the war took place; the Punic fortress Lilybaion was never conquered although it was besieged several times, e.g. by Pyrrhus of Epirus and by the Romans. In 241 BC it was given to the Romans as part of the peace treaty ending the First Punic War and became one of the most important towns in Sicily; the commercial centre was enriched with mansions and public buildings and dubbed splendidissima urbs by Cicero, who served as quaestor in the region between 76 and 75 BC. Ravaged by Vandals during the 5th century AD, the town was annexed in the 6th century to Justinian's Byzantine Empire. In this period the town was struck by dysentery, raided by pirates, neglected by Constantinople; the arrival of Arabic Berbers at the nearby Granitola mount in the 8th century entailed the resumption of commerce and the start of the rebirth of the town.
The town was renamed Marsa ʿAlī "ʿAlī's harbour" or maybe, Marsa ʿāliyy, "Big harbour", for the width of the ancient harbour, placed near Punta d'Alga. Another possible derivation is Marsa Allāh, "God's harbour". Another theory is that Marsala comes from mare salis, "salt pans by the sea" from the presence of salt pans along the whole northern coast, although mention of this theory cannot be found in contemporary references and the installation of the bigger salt ponds on the group of islands composing the contemporary single island "Isola Lunga" was made just during the 19th century. Since the end of the 11th century, the area has been conquered by Norman and Aragonese troops. During this time, Marsala became wealthy through trade; however the blocking up of the harbour of Punta Alga, decreed by Emperor Charles V so as to stop Saracen forays, brought an end to this period of prosperity. The development of Marsala wine at the end of the 18th century, headed by English merchants settled in Sicily improved local trade.
This triggered an economic expansion in Marsala, including the funding of infrastructure projects such as the current harbour of Margitello. On 11 May 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi landed at Marsala. On 11 May 1943, in the lead-up to the World War II Allied invasion of Sicily, an Allied bombardment of the town permanently damaged its Baroque centre and claimed many victims: "Marsala Wiped Off the Map" titled the New York Times on 13 May 1943; the archaeological area of Marsala has been investigated both through excavations and topographic studies. Lilybaeum, the ancient town, took up a rectangular area on Capo Boeo, a low and rocky promontory sloping down towards the sea; the urban layout of the town can be dated back to the 2nd century BC, taking the shape of a Roman camp, with modern-day Viale Vittorio Veneto the Decumanus Maximus and Viale Cesare Battisti the Cardo Maximus. In 350 BC the newly formed town of Ma
Siege of Lilybaeum (250 BC)
The Siege of Lilybaeum was a battle of the First Punic War that pitted a Roman Consular army led by Gaius Atilius Regulus Serranus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus against a Carthaginian army under the command of the general Himilcon. The battle resulted in a Roman retreat from the siege after the destruction of their fleet at Drepana. After their victory at the Battle of Panormus of the previous year, the Roman Senate decided to raise an army to decisively put an end to the fighting in Sicily. To this end, a new fleet was commissioned to be made up of 240 ships; the two consuls that year were sent to Sicily at the head of four legions. The Roman forces were made up of up to 100,000 men, including the crews of galleys and the auxiliary troops that accompanied the legions. Caius Atilius Regulus Serranus and Lucius Manlius Vulso Longus both had significant military experience having both served as consuls; the Romans arrived at Lilybaeum and began their siege of the city, building siege works around the city including rams, trenches and siege towers.
They further attempted to mine underneath the city walls and to block the city's port with their fleet. The Carthaginian force was up to this point, based exclusively on a force of 10,000 mercenaries inside the city. Carthage had relied on mercenary armies and did not maintain its own standing army. According to the historian Polybius, many of the mercenary captains gathered together and decided to desert to the Roman side after fears were raised that they did not stand a chance against the Romans; the Carthaginian command gained knowledge of this plot and the traitors were not allowed to return to the city once they entered the Roman camp. The loyalty of the remaining mercenaries was thereafter not in question and the city was shortly thereafter reinforced by fresh troops from Carthage; the fleet that brought these reinforcements sailed to the Carthaginian base at modern day Trapani and were able to run the Roman blockade of Lilybaeum to bring supplies to the town. After a storm destroyed the Roman defensive works protecting their siege craft, the Carthaginians came out of the city on sorties and set most of the Roman siege weapons on fire, destroying them.
This damage could have been repaired with time. The following year and non battle tested consuls arrived at the siege with reinforcements; the senior consul, Publius Claudius Pulcher, decided to launch an attack against the Carthaginian fleet at the First Battle of Drepana which turned into the worst naval disaster for the Roman fleet in the entire war. 93 of their ships were captured by the Carthaginian navy, with a mere 30 Roman ships escaping destruction or capture. Publius Claudius Pulcher was disgraced and called back to Rome where he was fined for his incompetence. Shortly after the defeat at Drepana, another Roman fleet under the second new consul, Lucius Junius Pullus, was destroyed by the Carthaginians; the Romans attempted to reroute all trade away from the city in an effort to isolate Drepana. In response, Carthage designated Hamilcar Barca, the Carthaginian chief of Sicily in 247 BC to concentrate his forces elsewhere on the island. Attempts to take Lilybaeum by the Romans did not stop until their decisive victory at the Battle of the Aegates Islands in 241 BC.
This defeat forced Carthage to negotiate a peace on Roman terms. One of the terms that Carthage was obliged to agree to was the complete abandonment of Sicily which included Lilybaeum. Roman consul Publius Claudius Pulcher was disgraced, he received a heavy fine as a result of losing the engagement. Polybius; the Histories. The Loeb Classical Library. Translated by W. R. Paton. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Diodorus Siculus; the Library of History. The Loeb Classical Library. Translated by C. H. Oldfather. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Walbank, F. W.. A Historical Commentary on Polybius. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Freeman, E. A.. The History of Sicily. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Morrison, J. S.. Greek and Roman Oared Warships, 399-30 B. C. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Siege of Lilybaeum, 250-241 B. C
Ab Urbe Condita Libri
The book History of Rome, sometimes referred to as Ab Urbe Condita, is a monumental history of ancient Rome, written in Latin between 27 and 9 BC by the historian Titus Livius, or "Livy", as he is known in English. The work covers the period from the legends concerning the arrival of Aeneas and the refugees from the fall of Troy, to the city's founding in 753, the expulsion of the Kings in 509, down to Livy's own time, during the reign of the emperor Augustus; the last event covered by Livy is the death of Drusus in 9 BC. About 25% of the work survives; the History of Rome comprised 142 "books", thirty-five of which—Books 1–10 with the Preface and Books 21–45—still exist in reasonably complete form. Damage to a manuscript of the 5th century resulted in large gaps in Books 41 and 43–45. A fragmentary palimpsest of the 91st book was discovered in the Vatican Library in 1772, containing about a thousand words, several papyrus fragments of unknown material, much smaller, have been found in Egypt since 1900, most about 40 words from Book 11, unearthed in 1986.
Some passages are known thanks to quotes from ancient authors, the most famous being on the death of Cicero, quoted by Seneca the Elder. Livy was abridged, in antiquity, to an epitome, which survives for Book 1, but was itself abridged in the fourth century into the so-called Periochae, a list of contents; the Periochae survive for the entire work, except for books 136 and 137. In Oxyrhynchus, a similar summary of books 37–40 and 48–55 was found on a roll of papyrus, now in the British Museum classified as P. Oxy. IV 0668. There is another fragment, named P. Oxy. XI 1379, which represents a passage from the first book and that shows a high level of correctness; however the Oxyrhynchus Epitome is incomplete. The entire work covers the following periods:Books 1–5 – The legendary founding of Rome, the period of the kings, the early republic down to its conquest by the Gauls in 390 BC. Books 6–10 – Wars with the Aequi, Volsci and Samnites, down to 292 BC. Books 11–20 – The period from 292 to 218, including the First Punic War.
Books 21–30 – The Second Punic War, from 218 to 202. Books 31–45 – The Macedonian and other eastern wars from 201 to 167. Books 46 to 142 are all lost: Books 46–70 – The period from 167 to the outbreak of the Social War in 91. Books 71–90 – The civil wars between Marius and Sulla, to the death of Sulla in 78. Books 91–108 – From 78 BC through the end of the Gallic War, in 50. Books 109–116 – From the Civil War to the death of Caesar. Books 117-133 – The wars of the triumvirs down to the death of Antonius. Books 134-142 – The rule of Augustus down to the death of Drusus; the first book has been one of the most significant sources of the various accounts of the traditional legend of Romulus and Remus. His version of the legend is told in chapters 3-7 of the first book. Livy states. Procas, her grandfather had willed the throne to his son Numitor but he was deposed by her uncle, Amulius, she was forced to take the Vestal oath to prevent her from producing a rival to his rule. She became pregnant after taking her vows and claimed that she had been raped by Mars, the Roman god of war.
Livy speculates. She was imprisoned by King Amulius and he ordered the newborn twins to be cast into the River Tiber, they were instead left by the swollen banks of the river, when the waters subsided, a she-wolf found them and suckled them until they were found and adopted by a shepherd named Faustulus and his wife Laurentia. He mentions, without attribution, a claim that Larentia was in fact a prostitute who serviced Faustulus and the other shepherds; the she-wolf tale arose from the slang word for her profession. They grow up strong, braving wild bandits along the way. In his account of the conflict with Amulius, Livy states that Faustulus had always known that the boys had been abandoned by the order of the king and had hoped that they were of Royal blood. On their way to celebrate the Lupercalia, the twins were ambushed by some of the thieves they had driven off. After a struggle, Remus was captured; the thieves accused him of stealing from Numitor's land. He was handed over to the former king, his grandfather—unbeknownst to either at the time—for punishment.
With Remus a captive, Faustulus told Romulus the truth of the twins’ origin. Meanwhile, encountering his grandson for the first time since infancy—a grandson whom he had thought long dead—looked favorably upon his royal demeanor and physicality, he realized the truth of who Remus and his twin brother Romulus were. Romulus and the other shepherds traveled separately to the city and converged with Remus and Numitor's supporters at the palace, where they killed Amulius. Seizing the moment, Numitor called for an assembly to regain his crown, he made public the ordeal of the twins and announced the death of Amulius, claiming he had given the order to kill him. To help boost their grandfather's effort to regain his throne, the twins marched their men into the center of the assembly and proclaimed him king; the people followed Numitor was once again king of the Alban kingdom. Inspired, the twins set out to build their own city; the twins began to argue immediately after starting out on their undertaking.
According to Livy, both wanted to be the king of their new city. H
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands referred to as Regione Siciliana. Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean Sea, south of the Italian Peninsula, from which it is separated by the narrow Strait of Messina, its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active in the world 3,329 m high. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate; the earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, Sicily was ruled during the Early Middle Ages by the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, the Byzantine Empire, the Emirate of Sicily; the Norman conquest of southern Italy led to the creation of the Kingdom of Sicily, subsequently ruled by the Hohenstaufen, the Capetian House of Anjou and the House of Habsburg.
It was unified under the House of Bourbon with the Kingdom of Naples as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It became part of Italy in 1860 following the Expedition of the Thousand, a revolt led by Giuseppe Garibaldi during the Italian unification, a plebiscite. Sicily was given special status as an autonomous region on 15th May 1946, 18 days before the Italian constitutional referendum of 1946. Albeit, much of the autonomy still remains unapplied financial autonomy, because the autonomy-activating laws have been deferred to be approved by the parithetic committee, since 1946. Sicily has a rich and unique culture with regard to the arts, literature and architecture, it is home to important archaeological and ancient sites, such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte. Sicily has a triangular shape, earning it the name Trinacria. To the east, it is separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, about 3 km wide in the north, about 16 km wide in the southern part.
The northern and southern coasts are each about 280 km long measured as a straight line, while the eastern coast measures around 180 km. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2, while the Autonomous Region of Sicily has an area of 27,708 km2; the terrain of inland Sicily is hilly and is intensively cultivated wherever possible. Along the northern coast, the mountain ranges of Madonie, 2,000 m, Nebrodi, 1,800 m, Peloritani, 1,300 m, are an extension of the mainland Apennines; the cone of Mount Etna dominates the eastern coast. In the southeast lie the lower Hyblaean Mountains, 1,000 m; the mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta districts were part of a leading sulphur-producing area throughout the 19th century, but have declined since the 1950s. Sicily and its surrounding small islands have some active volcanoes. Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and still casts black ash over the island with its ever-present eruptions, it stands 3,329 metres high, though this varies with summit eruptions.
It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps. Etna covers an area of 1,190 km2 with a basal circumference of 140 km; this makes it by far the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy, being about two and a half times the height of the next largest, Mount Vesuvius. In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus, the god of the sky. Mount Etna is regarded as a cultural symbol and icon of Sicily; the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the northeast of mainland Sicily form a volcanic complex, include Stromboli. The three volcanoes of Vulcano and Lipari are currently active, although the latter is dormant. Off the southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, part of the larger Empedocles volcano, last erupted in 1831, it is located between the island of Pantelleria. The autonomous region includes several neighbouring islands: the Aegadian Islands, the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa; the island is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island.
The Salso flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east, the Alcantara flows through the province of Messina and enters the sea at Giardini Naxos, the Simeto, which flows into the Ionian Sea south of Catania. Other important rivers on the island are the Platani in the southwest. Sicily has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and hot, dry summers with changeable intermediate seasons. On the coasts the south-western, the climate is affected by the African currents and summers can be scorching. Sicily is seen as an island of warm winters but above all along the Tyrrhenian coast and in the inland areas, winters can be cold, with typical continental climate. Snow falls in abundance above 900–1000 metres, but stronger cold waves can carry it in the hills and in coastal cities on the northern coast of the island; the interi
Palermo is a city of Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea; the city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz. Palermo became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos or "All-Port"; as Panormus, the town became part of Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city first became a capital; the Arabs shifted the Greek name into Bal ` the root for Palermo's present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Frederick II and King Conrad IV; the population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people.
In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, panormiti; the languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language. Palermo is Sicily's cultural and tourism capital, it is a city rich in history, art and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque and Baroque churches and buildings, its nightlife and music. Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services and agriculture. Palermo has an international airport, a significant underground economy. In fact, for cultural and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe, it is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.
The city is going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area. Roman Catholicism is important in Palermitano culture; the Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is known for its colourful fruit and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo. Palermo lies in a basin, formed by the Papireto and Oreto rivers; the basin was named the Conca d'Oro by the Arabs in the 9th century. The city is surrounded by a mountain range, named after the city itself; these mountains face the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is home to a natural port and offers excellent views to the sea from Monte Pellegrino. Palermo experiences a hot-summer subtropical Mediterranean climate, mild with moderate seasonality. Summers are long and dry due to the domination of subtropical high pressure system, while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather due to the polar front.
Temperatures in autumn and spring are mild. Palermo is one of the warmest cities in Europe, with an average annual air temperature of 18.3 °C, it's one of the warmest cities in Italy. It receives 2,530 hours of sunshine per year. Snow is a rare occurrence having snowed about a dozen times since 1945. Since the 1940s to nowadays there have been at least five times when considerable snowfall has occurred. In 1949 and in 1956, when the minimum temperature went down to 0 °C, the city was blanketed by some centimetres of snow. Snowfalls occurred in 1981, 1986, 1999 and 2014; the average annual temperature of the sea is above 19 °C. In the period from November to May, the average sea temperature exceeds 18 °C and in the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds 21 °C. Palermo is surrounded by mountains; some districts of the city are divided by the mountains themselves. It was difficult to reach the inner part of Sicily from the city because of the mounts; the tallest peak of the range is La Pizzuta, about 1,333 metres high.
However the most important mount is Monte Pellegrino, geographically separated from the rest of the range by a plain. The mount lies right in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Monte Pellegrino's cliff was described in the 19th century by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as "the most beautiful promontory in the world", in his essay "Italian Journey". Today both the Kemonia are covered up by buildings. However, the shape of the former watercourses can still be recognised today, because the streets that were built on them follow their shapes. Today the only waterway not drained yet is the Oreto river that divides the downtown of the city from the western uptown and the industrial districts. In the basins there were, many seasonal torrents that helped formed swampy plains, reclaimed during history.
A consul is an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, to facilitate trade and friendship between the people of the two countries. A consul is distinguished from an ambassador, the latter being a representative from one head of state to another. There can be only one ambassador from one country to another, representing the first country's head of state to that of the second, his or her duties revolve around diplomatic relations between the two countries. A less common usage is an administrative consul, who takes a governing role and is appointed by a country that has colonised or occupied another. In classical Greece, some of the functions of the modern consul were fulfilled by a proxenos. Unlike the modern position, this was a citizen of the host polity; the proxenos was a wealthy merchant who had socio-economic ties with another city and who helped its citizens when they were in trouble in his own city.
The position of proxenos was hereditary in a particular family. Modern honorary consuls fulfill a function, to a degree similar to that of the ancient Greek institution. Consuls were the highest magistrates of the Roman Roman Empire; the term was revived by the Republic of Genoa, unlike Rome, bestowed it on various state officials, not restricted to the highest. Among these were Genoese officials stationed in various Mediterranean ports, whose role included duties similar to those of the modern consul, i. e. helping Genoese merchants and sailors in difficulties with the local authorities. The consolat de mar was an institution established under the reign of Peter IV of Aragon in the fourteenth century, spread to 47 locations throughout the Mediterranean, it was a judicial body, administering maritime and commercial law as Lex Mercatoria. Although the consolat de mar was established by the Corts General of the Crown of Aragon, the consuls were independent from the King; this distinction between consular and diplomatic functions remains to this day.
Modern consuls retain limited judicial powers to settle disputes on ships from their country. The consulado de mercaderes was set up in 1543 in Seville as a merchant guild to control trade with Latin America; as such, it had branches in the principal cities of the Spanish colonies. The connection of "consul" with trade and commercial law is retained in French. In Francophone countries, a juge consulaire is a non-professional judge elected by the chamber of commerce to settle commercial disputes in the first instance; the office of a consul is a consulate and is subordinate to the state's main representation in the capital of that foreign country an embassy or – between Commonwealth countries – high commission. Like the terms embassy or high commission, consulate may refer not only to the office of consul, but to the building occupied by the consul and his or her staff; the consulate may share premises with the embassy itself. A consul of the highest rank is termed a consul-general, is appointed to a consulate-general.
There are one or more deputy consuls-general, vice-consuls, consular agents working under the consul-general. A country may appoint more than one consul-general to another nation. Consuls of various ranks may have specific legal authority for certain activities, such as notarizing documents; as such, diplomatic personnel with other responsibilities may receive consular letters patent. Aside from those outlined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, there are few formal requirements outlining what a consular official must do. For example, for some countries, consular officials may be responsible for the issue of visas. Nonetheless, consulates proper will be headed by consuls of various ranks if such officials have little or no connection with the more limited sense of consular service. Activities of a consulate include protecting the interests of their citizens temporarily or permanently resident in the host country, issuing passports. However, the principal role of a consulate lies traditionally in promoting trade—assisting companies to invest and to import and export goods and services both inwardly to their home country and outward to their host country.
Although it is not admitted publicly, like embassies, may gather intelligence information from the assigned country. Contrary to popular belief, many of the staff of consulates may be career diplomats, but they do not have diplomatic immunity unless they are accredited as such. Immunities and privileges for consuls and accredited staff of consulates are limited to actions undertaken in their official capacity and, with respect to the consulate itself, to those required for official duties. In practice, the extension and application of consular privileges and immunities can differ from country to country. Consulates are more numerous than diplomatic missions, such as embassies. Ambassadors are posted only in a foreign nation'