Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Palermo Impressions

Palermo is bewildering to me. Most places we visit are either fully modern or have made big strides in modernization that outpace any books. Not so with Palermo.

Decay: Palermo's former glory is amply evident in the massive number of old buildings and churches. However, the buildings are in various state of repair, or disrepair. A number of buildings are yet to be rebuilt from WWII bombings! Nevertheless they are throughout the city. Given Italy's high per cap GDP and our high daily cost, couldn't they do better?!

Traditional hours: Afternoon siesta hours are observed by many businesses and churches, more so in smaller towns. Restaurants don't open for dinner until after 7pm, tourist restaurants excepting. Sunday closings are common, including buses and trains.

Street food/markets: Meat and vegetables are still sold at the street stands that are set up and taken down everyday! This probably has to do with their mild climate. Some vendors actually hawk. In the back streets, mobile food vendors are a lot of fun once I get over my timidity.

Language: English is not so common, considering in the old days, Sicilian may be their 1st language, Italian 2nd. Our "Spanliano" is pretty well understood, alas our Italian listening comprehension is minimal, but more than nil :(

Cultural crossroad: Our pre-trip crash lessons in Sicilian history are reinforced by the mishmash of architectural styles and interior decorations, in a single building, single room. I don't think we have been any place that has a more tumultuous past and complicated history.


Quatro Canti (Four Corners) - The heart of Palermo.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Courtyard with palm tree.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Palazzo dei Normanni, the royal palace of the Norman kings of Sicily.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Inside the Palazzo dei Normanni, some shots of the mosaics circa 12th century AD in the Cappella Palatina, royal chapel of the Norman kings of Sicily.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

More 12th century mosaics in the church called the Martorana.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Artichokes are in season at the Ballaro Market.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Decay.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

We always seemed to be walking past the Fontana Pretoria and each time pausing, like many others, to admire.

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Street Food! The panelle (chick pea fritter) at right in a bun is my favorite and they are even better when in a panini.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Panelle patties ready to deep fry (at right).
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

And the Teatro Massimo at night.
Palermo, Sicily, Italy

4 comments:

Kathy said...

Jealous you got to see the Cappella Palatina, it was closed for renovations when I was in Palermo. Hope John is doing OK.

Crash Eddy said...

How did you travel back to Palermo? Bus or train?

Crash Eddy said...

Google Map images of Quantro Canti show all four corners are similar to the one corner you shot. Sorta lovely.

john said...

@Kathy, I am mostly recovered, thanks! -john

@Ed, train.