Archive | 4:42 PM

Palermo

19 Mar

A few nights ago, we boarded the overnight ferry from Napoli to Palermo. We had good expectations as Benita had done the same two years ago, and it did not disappoint. We enjoyed a lovely candlelit dinner in the dining room; our cabin was clean with comfortable beds; and with clear skies and calm waters, we actually slept very well.

We are staying in Monreale, just outside of Palermo, and yesterday took the local bus to see some of Palermo’s sights. It is not unlike Napoli, with huge buildings, monuments, etc, and an amazing and complex history.

Only in a city as ancient as Palermo could a structure known as the “New Gate” date from 1583. Porta Nuova is still the main entrance to the city center from the west.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Once we walked through it, as you can see here, we immediately felt a sense of pedestrian calmness, unlike other parts of this city.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

There is a pyramid-shaped roof, supported by four Moorish statues which represent the Moors defeated by Charles V in his war on the Ottoman Empire.

Adjacent to Porta Nuova is Palazzo Reale or the Norman Palace, which is the oldest royal residence in Europe. Today it is the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly. It was built by Arab Emirs around the 10th century and became the seat of sovereigns in the Kingdom of Sicily.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

The Palace is surrounded by incredible gardens filled with walkways, flowers, palm trees and monuments. Is this really Palermo?

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Walking along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the imposing Palermo Cathedral comes into view.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

As an architectural complex, the Cathedral, which was begun in 1170, is characterized by the presence of different styles, including baroque and neoclassical, due to a long history of additions, alterations and restorations, the last of which occurred in the 18th century. The crypt houses tombs and sarcophagi of Roman, Byzantine and Norman ages.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Our walk led us to the Four Corners, or Quattro Canti, officially known as Piazza Vigliena.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

It was laid out between 1608-1620 at the crossing of the two principal streets in Palermo, the Via Maqueda and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The piazza is octagonal, four sides being the streets; the remaining four sides are buildings.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

At the time the piazza was built, it was one of the first major examples of town planning in Europe.

Just a few examples of sights to see in Palermo, each of which contribute to the art, history and culture of this capital of the Italian island of Sicily.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: