May 6, 2017 - 7 AM - Docked in Palermo, Sicily
The history of Palermo is complicated and colorful. Following the founding of Palermo on Sicily's northwestern coast at the head of the Bay of Palermo by Phoenician traders in the 8th century BC, it became a Carthaginian settlement until its capture by the Romans in 254 BC. It then decayed under the Romans but later prospered under the Arabs in 831 and flourished as a center of trade with North Africa. Later, under Norman rule 1072-1194, Palermo reached its golden age and became capital of this kingdom in which Greeks, Arabs, Jews and Normans worked together in harmony to create a cosmopolitan culture of remarkable vitality, all leaving vestiges of their domination.
Our morning visit was to the small village of Monreale. Arab in origin and surrounded
by the fertile plain, "Conca d'Oro" (golden shell), with a panoramic view over the
Gulf of Palermo.
The cathedral and cloister - Norman architecture (1172) - were stunningly beautiful,
with the church, Benedictine monastery and royal palace for King William II (1166-1189).
The cloister was definitely a favorite with me.
The shameless magnificence of Palermo's Pretoria Fountain - read more about it here.
Our afternoon in the city was busy with much to see including the newly restored
Martorana church, and other places of interest. . . . . . . . and here I will stop because
I know how churches, cathedrals, palaces and public buildings can become
overwhelming, not only to those of us visiting them, but to readers who find it
monotonous reading about them!