Palermo, the capital of the autonomous region of Sicily, is a dynamic Southern Italy reality endowed with an extraordinary cultural and architectural heritage. The outstanding background of this regional city comes out from a thousand-year unique history with a notable succession of cultures ruling over, throughout much of its existence. Thanks to its strategic positioning at the center of the Mediterranean basin, the city of Palermo has developed sound international relations with most of the Med EU and not-EU countries; additionally to this, it hosts the Joint Managing Authority of the Italy-Malta EU Territorial Cooperation Programme and the Joint Managing Authority of the Italy-Tunisia ENPI Cooperation Programme.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians in 736 BC, but named by the Ancient Greeks as Panoremus meaning "always fit for landing in", has been early included in the Roman Empire and then in the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. From 827 to 1071 it was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when it first became a capital. Following the Norman re-conquest, Palermo became capital of the new Kingdom of Sicily (from 1130 to 1816). Eventually it would be united with the Realm of Naples to form the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, until the Italian unification (1860).
The population of Palermo is of around 700.000 people in the central area, while in the urban space is estimated to be 855.000 by Eurostat up to 1.200.000 people residing within the whole metropolitan area. As the administrative capital of Sicily, the city is central to the economy of the island. Considering the significant amounts of visitors every year, the local economy mainly relies on tourism and services, while agriculture, fishery and industrial sectors (main areas: housing construction, shipbuilding, engineering, food manufacturing and textiles) are traditional economic assets still at the base of the socio-economic urban growth.
Since the International Conference on E-Government for Development (ICEGD) held in Palermo on 10-11 April 2002, it has been recognized that e-government could foster good governance and promote a wider use of ICT. In the Italian context several national and local initiatives (i.e.:"e-Gov 2012 Plan", "Digitalia"), in line with the Flagship Initiative "A Digital Agenda for Europe", are taking place to facilitate and accelerate the penetration of ICT into Italian families and enterprises through the switch over of all-digital services in the public administration. The benefits of using technology to increase efficiency, effectiveness and accountability appeared and still appears relevant for the local administration, that is highly committed to provide easy access to public information, improve transparency in bureaucracy's practices and allow effective involvement of citizens and businesses in the policy-making process.
The urgent need to revive the city entails to undertake creative and sustainable policies in a context of co-participative decision-making processes and renewed public-private partnerships. The goal is to provide the local area of infrastructures, services and functions necessary to perform effectively the role of capital city of the Euro-Mediterranean area, exploiting all the considerable inner potentialities of Palermo.