Mondello is a small borough of the city of Palermo in the autonomous region of Sicily in Southern Italy. Its beach lies between two cliffs called Mount Gallo and Mount Pellegrino. The town was originally a small fishing village situated on marshland, but at the end of the 19th century it grew into a favourite tourist destination. The numerous Liberty style villas on the seafront promenade made it one of the gems of Art Nouveau in Europe.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, Mondello was an unhealthy marsh enclosed by two headlands: the famous Mount Pellegrino described by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as "the most beautiful promontory in the world" and Mount Gallo. The ancient fishing village laid at the foot of the latter. It was also home to a tonnara (or almadraba), one of the many ones scattered along the West coast of Sicily. The tonnara is no longer active.
At some point, a Palermitan nobleman had the idea to drain the swamp. Prince Francesco Lanza di Scalea, with the help of a Belgian real estate company, built a plant for the drainage of swampy waters to the sea. The newly rehabilitated areas, previously occupied by the swamp, underwent a process of expansion and evolution from the 18th to the 20th centuries.
From 1912 onwards Mondello became the seat of the high bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. The nobility of the city fostered the construction of several exclusive and aristocratic circles, the construction of villas and the exploitation of lush gardens and natural beauty. King Ferdinand of Bourbon called it "a corner of paradise". Eventually, the beach of Mondello was born.
Mondello is characterized by a sandy bay of tropical colors that binds the two promontories, called Monte Gallo and Mount Pellegrino, with a coastline of white sand that nowadays is little more than 1.5 kilometers long. The landscape is influenced by the Natural Reserve of Capo Gallo and the reserve of Monte Pellegrino. Today the area is famous for its beach, which is one of the most coveted shores of Italy, for its many Art Nouveau villas and for sites of historical interest.
The Art Nouveau villas characterize the architecture of the place, making it an important landmark in the history of international modernism . These buildings (many by the famous architect Ernesto Basile) are among the best examples of Art Nouveau in Italy and Europe.
Mondello has many accommodations, numerous yacht clubs and exclusive clubs, restaurants, shops, a marina and an old bathhouse, the Antico Stabilimento Balneare, one of the landmarks of the city. It is home of the World Festival on the Beach.
- P.Hardy, A. Bing, A. Blasi, C. Bonetto, K. Christiani, Italy, pp. 759–760, Lonely Planet.
- W. Dello Russo, Spiagge in Sicilia, Sime Books.
- Michelin, M. Magni, M. Marca, Sicilia, p. 90, La Guida Verde 2013
- Sicilia, p. 39, Lonely Planet, EDT 2013
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Italienische Reise - Sizilien.