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 church 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.
  The exterior of San Cataldo.
  Palermo Cathedral.
  Interior of the 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 ...
  and also frequented by hopeful cats.
  One branch of the Normans invaded Sicily at about the same time as another branch was invading England. They built a remarkable palace, of which this is the cloister.
  Chapel in the Palace of the Normans.
  Font in the chapel.
  Nearby, 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 park on Via Vittorio Emanuele was a pleasant place to rest ...
  with carriages waiting for tourists.
  There is a very grand Opera House.
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 parts of Palermo have not really recovered from WW2 and subsequent neglect.
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 interior of Monreale Cathedral.
  The cloister of Monreale Cathedral.
  Laneway next to Monreale Cathedral.
  Palermo seen from Monreale.
  On 2 June, we were to catch a ferry to Naples at 8 pm. We left our luggage at the B&B and took a bus to the seaside resort of Mondello, some 10 km north of Palermo.
  Row boats waiting to be rented.
  Eventually, we got our luggage and went to the port to take this huge ferry.

After the night of 2 June on the ferry, we arrived at Naples at 6 am and took a train to Sorrento.


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