Palermo

Palermo Cathedral
Palermo Cathedral
Palermo Cathedral
Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (La Martorana)
Conca d'Oro (Palermo)
Conca d'Oro (Palermo)
 
The apse in Cefalú Cathedral
The apse in Cefalú Cathedral
Monreale
Monreale mosaic

Norman in Cefalú

Walking in the narrow streets in the Sicilian seaside town of Cefalú just east of Palermo, I had the feeling of entering one of those places where time seemed to slow down by itself, and not just for an extended lunch break nor simply as an excuse to be lazy in the sun on what was an unusually warm December’s day. Cefalú is a popular tourist destination so maybe the locals were just enjoying the respite from a long and hectic season. It is perhaps still true that southern Mediterranean rural cultures tend to take things as they come, as opposed to the more linear thinking and action-oriented northern European mindset. Maybe this was part of the exotic attraction of what may have looked like the promised land to the adventurous Normans coming all the way from the north of France…

Cathedral of Monreale

From the roof of the Cathedral of Monreale you can see far and wide, across the Conca d’Oro basin, past Palermo and beyond, towards the open horizon of the Mediterranean Sea. No wonder the town of Monreale, situated high on the slopes of Monte Caputo some 20 minutes by car from down-town Palermo, features so prominently in the history of the city below. The Cathedral, preceding its sister Palermo Cathedral by a decade or so, was begun in 1174 under the Norman King William II’s rule of Siclily. The surprisingly large cathedral including the cloister premises totally dominate the charming main square of the town. The exterior is unmistakably in the Romanesque or Norman style, with the typical fortress-like towers flanking the main façade and portico entrance…


‘Muqarnas’ vaulting in Cappella Palatina

 
Mosaics in the apse - Cappella Palatina
Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (La Martorana)

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