Pellegrino, Piazzas, and Chiseas, oh my!
Palermo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 26 › view all entries
The alarm went off at and I reset the alarm for . Now we had to get up. While I was in the shower, Rob took a few shots of the flea market that had opened for a Sunday morning of business.
Upon getting showered we packed our bag for the day’s exploration. Knowing Palermo’s reputation, we purchased the extra insurance on the car. For 20 euro extra someone could vandalize the car, break in, or even steel the car, and we had no responsibility. We briefly spoke of the upside to the car being stolen, no returning it to the airport….but it was there.
We set the Tom Tom and headed north and along the coast.
Upon reaching the outskirts of the airport area, we realized that there was no gas station anywhere near. So, we had Tom Tom find us a gas station. The closest one was 8 kilometers away! Tank full, we returned the car without incident.
We, now, had to get back to
Our first stop on today’s journey was San Giovanni degli Eremiti. It is one of the most important monuments in
Now, we headed up Via del Bastione to the Piazza del Vittoria, a large square dominated by tall healthy palm trees. There is a monument to Phillip V built out of carrara marble, built in 1662, which stands in front of the Palazzo dei Normanni. It’s a shame that the monument has to he gated and that weeds are going within. A few shots were taken of this impressive building and it’s Porta Nuova, built in 1583 with a roof of majorica tiles and an eagle design . We will return, tomorrow for the tour.
We then cross the piazza to the Area Archeologies “Piazza della Vittoria”.
We began walking down Corso Vittorio Emanuele. We stopped in a souvenir shop that was showcasing some handmade/hand painted crosses that caught Rob’s attention. I ended up with a stone egg and heart both hand painted with an ocean scene. We also bought a few postcards for friends and family.
Across the street, is the main church, the Palermo Cathedral which is dedicated to “Our lady of the Assumption”. It was originally built in 1179 / 85. Due to the frequent rebuilding by the numerous conquerors of
On the corner was a small vehicle pained in the traditional style of Sicilian carts. Rob noticed that it was advertising an artist’s shop. We checked out. They had whimsical paintings, puppets, carts, figurines, carts, a scooter, and many other items.
After the shop we both agreed we needed food. Rob checked the books and found a place listed that was cheap, well established and recommended by the book. Making it even better it the fact that it was even next to a church I wanted to photograph. We were on way further down the Corso Vittorio Emanuele. On the way we stopped into a ceramic shop with the most wonderful pieces. I had been here on the previous trip and purchased a beautiful vase. Rob found something for his mother, but wanted to wait to buy it. We made our way to the restaurant, Antica Focacceria di San Francesco. It was established in 1834 and is considered a Palermitan institution. Rob tried their specialty, panino (bread filled with Ricotta cheese and milza, veal innards).
Once we were feed and feeling better we headed back out into the warm, sunny streets. San Francesco Church is directly across from the restaurant. I noticed a fabulous fresco on a building in the piazza. Our next stop was the Quattro Canti. This is the intersection Corso Vittorio Emauele and Via Maqueda. It dates from 1600 when the city was divided into 4 sections. It has amazing examples of neo-classic design and has fountains on its 4 corner. It is also know as the “four songs of the city” and the center, the theater of the sun as its sees the sun from dawn to dusk.
I got some good shots and then we were off to the Piazza Marina. It has fascinating magnolia trees that have exposed roots. We stopped at an ATM near the massive Porta Felice. It took me a couple of tries to get the machine to work for me, all in Italian. After I was finished, Rob went up to take out cash and it was rebooting itself. He was terrified that is was using Windows XP as an operating system.
Once we had our cash we took enjoyed the view of the Porta Felice and then walked through to the Villa Mare on the
From here found our way to Fontana Pretoria which was once called the Fountain of Shame because of it statues of nude figures. It was originally designed for a garden of a villa in
On the piazza there is a house being renovated and we were able to see in the windows. The building is in terrible condition but you are able to see that it was a grand home at one time and will be again. The details that we were able to see in the window were spectacular.
On one side of the piazza a statue of Mary looks out over the fountain from the top of La Martorana. The detailing that was visible was breath taking. Across the street from the Fountain stands Chisea di San Giuseppe dei Teatini with a fantastic tiled dome and wooden roofed bell tower. It was built in the 7th century.
From here we moved on to Piazza Bellini to see San Cataldo, built in 1160. For a period in the 19th century, it was used as a post office. It is a typical rectangle with blind arches with simple windows within. These windows have a glass design similar to Orthodox Church windows but, with other geometric elements also. It also has the typical red bulge domes and Arab style merlons. There are columns with Byzantine style capitals The walls are simple stone but the floor is original mosaic. It now belongs to the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.
We went up on the step of Santa Caterina to get picture of San Cataldo and Chisea di Santa Maria dell’ Ammiraglio, the baroque church next to it, which was built in 1143 by George of Antioch for Norman King Roger II.
After I was satisfied, we headed over to the Via Roma. Rob navigated us down to Piazza San Domenico where the impressive Baroque San Domenica looms over the square. The scale of this church is meant to show power and wealth. There was a Gelato place on the piazza so we decided to take a short break.
After our snack, we walked back into the neighborhood to find another church.
We finally found the church I was obsessed with finding, the Baroque masterpiece, Chiesa di Santa Anna. It was built in 1632 It is on a piazza with the
After the visit we waited outside for a bit to see if they would turn on the festival lighting.
On the way we got some great night shots of the Cathedral. It is quite dramatic a night and is lit well. The only strange thing is that the statue of Mary out front has white low energy lights and every other light on the church is halogen making Mary look a bit strange.
We snaked out way back through the streets to the neighbor hood where the guest house is. The street party was just getting started and there were a lot of people. We grabbed some food and headed inside. The people were just starting to arrive for a concert and they just kept coming. We could hear it from our room with the windows shut and the exterior blind down.
I worked on blogs and Rob read, wrote, postcards, and helped me some. After I couldn’t take writing any longer Rob took over for awhile. It is now approaching and the concert is still going. Rob is ready to fall over and since he can sleep though anything I think he might be able to go to sleep. I needed my earplugs desperately and with them was able to sleep. Tomorrow, actually today at this point, will be museum day. It has been a great first day in