Welcome to Jeremy Dummett’s website. Here you will find:

  • Details of the books and the author’s background
  • Information on Palermo and Syracuse as destinations for visitors, their monuments and wonderful food
  • Suggestions for excursions outside the cities
  • Articles with more information on subjects covered in the books
  • Links to relevant websites

Sicily is an island of exceptional interest, geographically, historically and culturally. It has been an island of great regional diversity since ancient times. Syracuse was the first leading city of the island, a position it held from soon after its foundation by Greeks in the eighth century BC, until the ninth century AD, when captured by the Arabs.

Palermo, founded by Phoenicians, rose to prominence in the ninth century AD when the Arabs made it their capital of the island. Palermo blossomed under the Arabs and the Normans and the influence of both can be seen in the city today. Later it became the scene of the Sicilian Vespers when the island rose against the French. In 1860 Palermo was freed from the Spanish Bourbons by Garibaldi and went on to join the newly formed Kingdom of Italy.

The stories of these two great cities, Syracuse and Palermo, are thus complementary. Syracuse, famous in antiquity, dominated eastern Sicily; Palermo, famous in the medieval and baroque periods, dominated western Sicily. Taken together, their stories contain the key elements of Sicilian history.

Palermo, City of Kings


palermo-book-smallPalermo – the capital of Sicily – is a destination with a difference. The city is a treasure trove of original monuments and works of art, combined with architecture of grand proportions. Yet it also has a grittier side, exemplified by its mafia connections.

Jeremy Dummett here provides the first concise history of Palermo, together with a survey of its most important monuments and sites.

“an elegant and civilised guide… the author makes a thoughtful, articulate and entertaining companion”
The Good Book Guide

“Well written and entertaining – as well as illuminating”
Italia! Magazine

“an excellent guide to a city of bewildering mixed bloods and ethnicities, mixed architectures and mixed reputations”
The Spectator

“A book that celebrates the cultural melting pot of Sicily… a history and a guidebook to an endlessly beguiling city”
Country Life

“Palermo gives us a sense of Sicily’s hubris and nemesis in microcosm. Jeremy Dummett, as candid and eloquent a guide as we could wish for, calls it ‘a gritty place, not yet sanitised by global influences'”
Times Literary Supplement

Palermo, City of Kings is recommended, along with Syracuse, City of Legends, by historian, archaeologist and tour guide Dr Michael Metcalfe of Peter Sommer Travel. You can read his review here.

Leoluca Orlando, mayor of Palermo, tweeted on 6/5/2015:
“I have really appreciated your book, Palermo, City of Kings, and your love for our city and its process of regeneration.”

Read more…

In the UK, you can buy the book online from the publisher, IB Tauris, or from Amazon.co.uk.

In the USA, you can buy the book online from Amazon.com.

In Italy, you can buy the book online from Amazon.it.

In Palermo, you can buy the book in person at the excellent Feltrinelli bookshop, 133 Via Cavour.

Syracuse, City of Legends



Syracuse, City of Legends – the first historical guide to the city – explores Syracuse’s place within the island and the wider Mediterranean and reveals why it continues to captivate visitors today, more than two and a half millennia after its foundation.

“meticulously researched and beautifully written… vivid and entertaining… erudite and intimate”
The Sunday Telegraph

“a welcome travelling companion whose enthusiasm is catching”
Judith Harris

“This book should have people booking tickets to Sicily.”
CNN Traveller

“Don’t leave for Sicily without this guide.”
Jordan Lancaster

“wonderfully helpful”
American couple in a TripAdvisor review

“well-informed, up-to-date and beautifully written… a prime example of a city guide”
Dr Michael Metcalfe of Peter Sommer Travel

“a rich and easy to read account… bring[s] Siracusa’s history to life”
Browney, a travel blogger

“Thank goodness Jeremy Dummett was inspired to write a book about Syracuse”
Rochelle Del Borrello, Sicily Inside & Out

Out now in paperback.

Read more…

In the UK, you can buy the book online from the publisher, IB Tauris, or from Amazon.co.uk.

In the USA, you can buy the book online from Amazon.com.

In Italy, you can buy the book online from the Amazon.it.

In Syracuse, you can buy the book in person from Libreria Gabò, in Corso Matteotti, 38, and at Libreria Lettera Ventidue, in Corso Umberto, 106.

The aim of this site is to complement the books by providing relevant information on the cities, the provinces and related subjects. As circumstances may change, the information needs checking, and any use to which it is put is the responsibility of the recipient.