Palermo

Palermo - the capital of the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo.

Porta Nuova, Palermo

Detail of Porta Nuova, near the Norman Palace in Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy) - new on the list (2015)

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).

Palermo

Norman Cathedrals

 

The Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo) in Palermo

The Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo) in Palermo, an example of the wonderful Arabian-Norman architecture. San Cataldo is one of the sites in Palermo inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. San Cataldo was founded by William I's chancellor, Maio of Bari c. 1160. In that year, Maio was assassinated with the result that San Cataldo's interior never was decorated. After 1787 the church served as a post office (!), before it was restored in 1885.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

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Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral is characterized by different architectural styles, due to a long history of additions, alterations and restorations. It was erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and King William II's minister.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

Palermo links

 

Palermo...Falcone and Borsellino (Episode 17 "You, Me & Sicily!")

 

The "Serpotta Oratories"

Giacomo Serpotta stucco statues in Oratorio di Santa Cita, Palermo

Giacomo Serpotta stucco statues in Oratorio di Santa Cita, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Serpotta putto in Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Stucco putti by Giacomo Serpotta (1656-1732) in Oratorio del SS. Rosario di San Domenico, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Giacomo Serpotta putto in Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Palermo

Stucco by Giacomo Serpotta in the Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

La Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio)

La Martorana: Roger II, Christ, Palermo

Roger II receiving the crown directly from Christ and not the Pope. Mosaic in the Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription "Rogerios Rex" in Greek letters. After the Sicilian Vespers of 1282 the island's nobility gathered in the church for a meeting that resulted in the Sicilian crown being offered to Peter III of Aragon.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Christ Pantocrator in Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), Palermo

Christ Pantocrator in Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), Palermo. The 12th century mosaics were executed by Byzantine craftsmen.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Church of SS Salvatore

Putti mourning the death of Christ

Putti mourning the death of Christ in the Church of SS Salvatore, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Quattro Canti

Quattro Canti, Palermo

The baroque square Quattro Canti at the crossing of the two principal streets in Palermo, the Via Maqueda and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

 

Reenacting Jesus Christ's journey to Golgotha on Good Friday. Quattro Canti, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Good Friday procession passing Quattro Canti.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

 

Click here to see more photos of Quattro Canti!

 

 

Fontana Pretoria (1554-55) - also called the Fountain of Shame

Fontana Pretoria, Fountain of Shame, Piazza Pretoria

Fontana Pretoria (1554-55), also known as the Fountain of Shame on Piazza Pretoria near the Quattro Canti intersection in Palermo. Goethe was appalled when he visited Palermo in 1787.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Fontana Pretoria, Palermo

Detail of a statue at Fontana Pretoria in Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

The Norman Palace

Norman Palace

Detail of the Norman Palace in Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Palatine Chapel (Cappella Palatina) in the Norman Palace

Wooden ceiling in the Palatine Chapel in Palermo (Cappella Palatina)

The magnificent wooden ceiling of the Palatine Chapel (Cappella Palatina) in the Norman Palace in Palermo. Nave, north side.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

The Church of the Gesù

The Church of the Gesù (aka Chiesa del Gesù) aka Church of Saint Mary of Gesu (aka Chiesa di Santa Maria di Gesù) aka Casa Professa is one of the most important Baroque churches in Sicily.

Church of the Gesù, Chiesa del Gesù

The marble reliefs with their figural and ornamental motifs in the Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù) are unique.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Video: Palermo anno 1910

 

 

More photos from Palermo

Painting of Mary and Jesus  in Chiesa Santa Maria della Catena (Church of Saint Mary of the Chain)

A very interesting fresco of Mary with the child Jesus at her breast is found in Chiesa Santa Maria della Catena (Church of Saint Mary of the Chain), close to Porta Felice. Jesus is depicted as an adult and Mary's breast is exposed. The painting was later censored and painted over. It has now been restored, but you can see the new painting to the left and the right of Maria and Jesus.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Chiesa di Sant'Orsola, Palermo

Detail of an reliquary altarpiece in Chiesa di Sant'Orsola, Palermo.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Hôtel des Palmes - Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes

Richard Wagner went to Sicily to finish his last opera Parsifal. Wagner and his family arrived at Hôtel des Palmes (now: Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes), on 5 November 1881.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wagneropera.net

 

 

R. Albergo delle Povere (founded as "Reale Albergo dei Poveri")

R. Albergo delle Povere (founded as "Reale Albergo dei Poveri")

R. Albergo delle Povere. This house for the poor and disabled was founded in 1733 as Reale Albergo dei Poveri in order to accommodate disabled poor, the crippled, the young orphans and vagrants. One of the founders was the prince of Palagonia, Ferdinando Francesco Gravina (known for Villa Palagonia in Bagheria, outside Palermo). In 1898 it was used only by women and the name was changed to R. Albergo delle Povere.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Porta Felice

Porta Felice was built in between the 16th and 17th centuries.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

Antica Focacceria S. Francesco

Antica Focacceria S. Francesco

The Museum of the Inquisition

The Museum of the Inquisition

 

Orto botanico - The Botanical Garden in Palermo

Orto botanico - The Botanical Garden in Palermo

The Botanical Garden (Orto botanico) is a nice place to relax between visiting churches and museums in Palermo. The garden opened to the public in 1795. It has lots of plants from all over the world. In the lovely lily pond, there are lots of cute turtles.

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

 

 

Facts about Sicily

  • Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean.
  • Sicily is the largest region in Italy.
  • The terrain in Sicily is hilly. Plains and plateaus make up only 14% of the total land area.
  • It is hard to believe for anyone having visited Sicily that the island once was well wooded, even throughout the Middle Ages. It it not clear when the forests disappeared, but by the 17th century, there was not enough timber for local consumption.
  • The Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello was born near Agrigento.
  • Boccaccio's Decameron Fifth Day - Novel VI takes place in the Cuba, Palermo (commissioned in 1180 by William II)
  • Lemons, oranges, pistachio and sugar cane were brought to Sicily by the Arabs.

 

The distance between Palermo and some other cities in Sicily

Palermo-Cefalù 69 km
Palermo-Siracusa 277 km
Palermo-Agrigento 131 km
Palermo-Noto 303 km
Palermo-Taormina 272 km
Palermo-Catania 227 km
Palermo-Trapani 101 km
Palermo-Corleone 57,8 km
Palermo-Villa Romana del Casale

 

 

La Favorita (Palermo) - made by SiculDrone

 

 

 

 

Monreale

Christ Pantocrator - cathedral in Monreale, Palermo

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

 

Christ Pantocrator: The cathedral in Monreale, just outside Palermo, is regarded as the most beautiful of the Norman churches in Sicily. The mosaics were made with 2200 kg of pure gold, experts have estimated. Craftsmen from Constantinople were employed to expedite the work. The Byzantine mosaics are among the most magnificent in the world.

The most common translation of Pantocrator is "Almighty" or "All-powerful". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek words pan (gen. pantos), i.e. "all" and kratos, i.e. "strength", "might", "power". This is often understood in terms of potential power; i.e., ability to do anything, omnipotence. Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less literally, "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantokrator is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something". This translation speaks more to God's actual power; i.e., God does everything (as opposed to God can do everything).

 

 

Genoa-Palermo ferry instructions

If you are heading for Sicily coming from the north, you may want to take the GNV ferry from Genoa (Genova) to Palermo. It departs late in the evening and arrives in Palermo the following evening.

Here is how you find the GNV ferry in Genoa by car:

  • take the motorway exit Genova Ovest
  • keep left and follow directions for "Porto - Terminal Traghetti"
  • Then turn right down the helicoidal road which comes to the end at a set of traffic lights.
  • Go straight on and after about 100 m. take the underpass to enter the Port and perform check-in operations.

The address for the navigation system is "Ponte Assereto".

GNV = Grandi Navi Veloci. Here is the Homepage: www.gnv.it