Italy 2006

Palermo, Sicily: 29 May to 1 June

Palermo is the capital of Sicily: a vibrant and busy city with many reminders of its past: Norman castles and churches, mosques, and the ruins of buildings bombed in WW2. We stayed in an apartment near the centre. Although it was called a "B&B", breakfast consisted of a voucher to take to a bar across the main street where we were served cornetti and coffee. A very Italian start to the day.

  The front door of our B&B was across a square from the church of San Francisco d'Assisi: this is the church's facade.
  A detail of the arch around the chruch door.
  The small square outside the church is filled with restaurant tables. Three restaurants share it, apparently amicably. It was pleasant and convenient, so we ate there twice.
  The two main roads of Palermo cross at Quatro Canti, a rather cramped crossroads rather than a majestic square. This is one of the curved buildings that occupy each quadrant.
  The graceful understatement of the church of Santa Caterina.
  The ceiling of San Domenico.
  The ancient church of San Cataldo, which has three domes in Arabic style.
  Palermo cathedral.
  Dome of the church of San Guiseppe dei Teatini
  A deli in Palermo, quite typical of Italian food shops.
  Palermo has a lively market area, selling fresh vegetables...
  and fish.
  Courtyard inside the Palace of the Normans.
  Chapel inside the Palace of the Normans.
  Porta Nuova - the New Gate - was rebuilt in its present form in 1699 and still guards the western entrance to the city centre, despite the traffic inconvenience.
  A horse and carriage wait patiently for another tourist.
  The Teatro Politeama Garibaldi dominates its large piazza. When we were there, the piazza was taken up with a display of aerial photographs of all parts of the world, with ecological messages below in Italian and English.

Some 7 km west of Palermo is Monreale, still a separate town with a cathedral that was commissioned in 1166 and had its last major refurbishment completed in 1926.
  The apse of Monreale cathedral.
  The cloister of Monreale cathedral.
  The fountain in one corner of the cloister (the back corner in the photo above).
  The door of the cathedral.

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  Copyright © 2006 by Lynn Booth. Click here to contact us or to request a full-size photo