Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Palermo Highlights. . . . . . . .

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!


  1. Monreale's cloisters left a deep impression with me, too, Mary! (I have blogged about it.)
    Palermo can be overwhelming to the visitor, no matter whether you are part of a guided group or on your own. My friend and I spent several days there back in 1987 and were glad to have made the acquaintance of two honest and decent men from the city who were looking after us.

  2. Dear Mary - you make me wish to return. One of the things that sticks in my mind amidst all of the splendour that is Monreale, is the mosaic cycle all around the walls. The image that I distinctly remember is the one of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden by an Angel and there they are with their naked bodies suddenly clothed in fur coats!!! - needless to say I found it rather amusing.

  3. Just gorgeous Mary. What a beautiful place.

  4. Incredibly rich detail and beauty everywhere!

  5. Actually, I find the medieval art on these churches and that Christ mural being fairly famous is one of my favourites.


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