40km (25 miles) E of Palermo

Long known for its thermal waters, this town might merit a couple hours of your time. Although it is used mainly as a base for those wishing to take side trips from here, it does offer a few treasures.

Cáccamo, to the south, is one of the island's biggest and most magnificent bastions, and Himera, to the east, is the site of the ruins of a 7th-century-B.C. Greek settlement. For the dedicated sightseer, both Cáccamo and Himera are more rewarding than Termini Imerese itself, its name deriving from the Latin Thermae Himerenses, meaning "Hot Springs of Himera." Among those who came for the cure was the Greek poet Pindar. In a rather fanciful endorsement, Diodorus claimed that the springs were created by three nymphs and that Hercules was the first to enjoy the baths.

The town is split into two sectors -- Termini Bassa (Lower Termini) and Termini Alta (Upper Termini). The upper town comprises most of the spa's historic center, whereas the transportation hub for the area is in the lower town. Once enclosed by fortified walls, the city lost most of its charms to the creeping industrialization that followed the end of World War II, including some hideously ugly petrochemical factories.