Mondello and Capogallo reserve
Mondello, in the shade of the "most beautiful headland in the world" J.W. GoetheMondello is a tourist destination par excellence for the Palermitans as it is located only a few kilometres from the city. Until the end of the 19th Century it was a noxious and foul-smelling swamp, however, in 1898 the area was reclaimed by Prince Francesco Lanza di Scalea and subsequently leased by the municipality to an Italian-Belgian company which commenced development of the area by creating a lido, a hotel and 300 villas. During this period the Art Deco villas of the Belle Epoque were constructed, some by noted architects such as the Sicilian architect Ernesto Basile. The small fishing village was thus transformed into a rich and elegant resort and its development continued until the end of the 1990's. Today Mondello's rich heritage of historic villas remains intact; some of the villas have been completely restored over the years while others are left semi-abandoned. The lido was completely renovated several years ago and now houses a prestigious sailing club and the Charleston restaurant. For a number of years the beach has been covered in the summer with wooden beach huts which are rented to families and used for various purposes. The beach huts have invaded all of the sandy part of the beach which has been partially eroded over time. From 2008, however, the company which operates the beach is slowly eliminating the unsightly beach huts and transforming the beach by creating small areas with bars, deck chairs and umbrellas which undoubtedly helps to create a more pleasant and livable environment. Mondello is a place which retains an extraordinary fascination, above all out of season when its white beach is infrequently used and the splendid Caribbean colours of the sea can be seen in their full glory. In the village of Mondello, still partially used by the local fishermen, there are numerous restaurants where you can eat excellent fish and seafood, either standing or sitting down. Beyond the town lies the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve which was created in 2001. Upon payment of a small entry fee, you can enter the reserve and swim in one of its small, sandy coves or from the rocks. The reserve is also an ideal place for hiking. You can walk to a fascinating, abandoned lighthouse along the unmade coastal path which runs through the reserve. Sailing regattas are regularly organised at Mondello by the local sailing clubs Circolo della Vela and Circolo Canottieri Roggero di Lauria. Each year in May the Windsurf World Festival takes place at Mondello under the organisation of the Circolo dell'Albaria and the world's best windsurfers come to compete at the event. In Mondello you can rent inflatables, pleasure craft and windsurfers and take classes in scuba diving and surf kiting. All essential services are available in the village: buses, chemist shops, supermarkets, restaurants, self-service cafes, pizzerias, sandwich bars, mini-golf courses, tennis courts and discotheques (only in summer).
Mondello is 5 minutes by car from Palermo and 15 minutes from Punta Raisi airport.