CIties of Tirenia: Panormo
History: The largest city on the island of Trinacria is Panormo, with a population of 30,000. It is an ancient city: the ancient Ercolians who settled here found signs of habitation dating back to before the War of the Host. Due to its commanding position in the Inner Sea, the city became a major trading port, and it swapped hands many times between Tirenian, Sahelian and Crescentian rulers. Ruggiero il Volpe, a Tirenian mercenary, conquered Trinacria and most of southern Tirenia in 596 A.S. He became the first Prince of Trinacria, with Panormo as his capital. This was the beginning of a multicultural golden age for Panormo, but later rulers were not so beloved. In 806 A.S. the Trinacrian Revolution occurred, in which the Prince of Trinacria was expelled in response to tyrannical rule; he fled to Kymaiopoli, which is still the seat of the Prince of Trinacria. The city has been independent thereafter.
Government: The official ruler of Palermo is the Prince of Trinacria. However, the Princes have been living in Kymaiopoli for the last two hundred years. The Praetor di Panormo is the acting ruler of the city, leading a senate of twelve jurati. These rulers are chosen by the majority decision of the jurati whenever a position becomes available, or whenever someone becomes important enough to force the Jurati to acknowledge them. The Jurati are generally landowners and merchants, with the occasional wealthy mercenary or pirate.
Religion: The patron saint of Panormo is Santa Rosella. A hermit who dwelled in Monte Nicoletta north of the city, she died at a young age. She is portrayed as a young girl wearing a crown of rose briars. She appeared in a dream to a farmer during the Great Plague, who uncovered her bones in a cave on the mountain and brought them down to the city. When the plague ended, she was adopted as the patron saint of the city. In addition, each district of the city has its own patron saint as well.
Geography: Panormo is situated on a large, deep natural harbour, with three rivers feeding into it. The city is in a valley, surrounded by mountains. The most prominent of these is Monte Nicoletta, which overlooks the city and the sea to the north. The city itself is divided into quarters, each named after its patron saint: Sant’Ambra, Santa Bianca, Santa Cloe and Santa Girasole. The city is characterised by its small winding streets. The city centre is the Piazza di Quattroquarti, the Plaza of the Four Quarters, at the intersection of the four districts, which is decorated with statues depicting the saints.
Santa Bianca is the north-western district, and it is the oldest part of the city. It has the administrative parts of the city, as well as the dwarven settlement. The Prince’s Palace, where the government meets, is in Santa Bianca. The Collegio Massimo is a small religious school offering degrees in theology and philosophy.
Santa Cloe is the north-eastern district, located by the docks. It is the site of the famous Macelleria. This market was originally the meat-sellers’ market, but over time it has grown to be the largest food market in the city. It is famous for the ‘abbanniate’, the hawkers’ cries as they try to attract the attention of passers-by.
Sant’Ambra is the south-western distinct, and is more elevated. It is the wealthiest district of the city, with villas reaching up the hillsides. The Mercato del Pesce is located just inside this district, which is another of the city’s famous most famous landmarks.
Santa Girasole is the south-eastern district, located near the docks. When the city was ruled by Crescentians, it was the seat of power in the city. When the city was recaptured by Tirenians, the palace was abandoned, but much of the old architecture, including the Palazzo Crescentiano, still remains, and the Crescentian community lives here. It is the poorest of the city’s four districts.
Culture: Panormo has a reputation as a haven of pirates and criminals, which is a result of its status as an open port for any who need it. Most of the city’s nobility are descended from retired pirates. The Benevoli, the well-known crime syndicate, has a significant presence throughout Trinacria, and Panormo is one of their major headquarters. Many of the Jurati are rumoured to be paid off by the Benevoli, making the authorities turn a blind eye to their activities.
The city’s most significant celebration is the Festino, which runs from the 10th to the 15th of Arpio. A chariot shaped like a ship is paraded around the city, decorated with statues of the five saints. 4 Pesco is the feast day of Santa Rosella, and the people of the city walk barefoot up to the cave on Monte Nicoletta where the saint’s bones were uncovered to pray and leave offerings.
Economy: Trinacria is a major source of sulfur, and much of the sulfur sold in Tirenia is first purchased in the markets at Panormo. The city is also the centre of much of the agricultural activity in the island, and the city exports large quantities of what to the mainland.
Esoterica: Panormo has a patron fairy and elemental. The Lady of Roses identifies with fertility and the springtime. Meanwhile, a crowned water elemental controls the waters of the harbour. Sailors make offerings as they leave the bay, lest they should draw the ire of the elemental’s sea serpents.
Politics: Panormo prides itself on its independence. It has economic arrangements with other cities - for example, Staglia buys large amounts of Trinacrian wheat - but is steadfastly neutral. Any ship can stop off for supplies there, with no questions asked. Only those who start trouble are unwelcome.
Future Developments: Panormo has largely stayed out of the politics on the mainland. However, it has a reputation as the most conquered city in all Tirenia. Staglia and Vanzenia are both keen to conquer the city and could use the excuse of fighting piracy to seize it.
Image: Palermo, 1850. Alexey Bogolyubov, 1850.