Villa Niscemi, Palermo – the most lavish palace in all Sicily

One day strolling through Palermo – OK, staggering in the heat – I chanced to notice a pair of gates which felt very familiar. I had never seen them before, yet I knew them so well. I knew there was going to be a false river inside them inhabited by expensive imported ducks. So we … More Villa Niscemi, Palermo – the most lavish palace in all Sicily

Sicilian Ceramics in Palermo

Back in the summer we dashed to Sicily to empty out our beautiful house.   I am heartbroken to say we can’t afford to keep it, now that we’re settled in England and paying for a home here.   If anyone is interested in buying my house in Sicily have a look here, and contact … More Sicilian Ceramics in Palermo

Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral was erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and the Norman King William II’s minister. One of his close relatives had Monreale cathedral built during an overlapping time period, and they were therefore regarded as competing with each other for glory. The Normans had … More Palermo Cathedral

Shopping in Palermo

Palermo is a fun place to go shopping, and you can find some real bargains if you know where to go. If you don’t, you can find a truly amazing amount of tiny weeny Chinese clothing, that you would not have fitted into by the time you were 12. Never fear! Follow my advice, and … More Shopping in Palermo

The Jewish Ghosts of Palermo

There was a Jewish presence in Sicily for centuries, possibly from before the birth of Jesus. The Jews were the only outsiders who made their homes in Sicily and became part of her population without invading. They simply turned up, fitted in and made themselves indispensable.   The Jews were the literate and educated members … More The Jewish Ghosts of Palermo

The Vucciria Market in Palermo

I was bewildered recently to find an article online, published by Italy Magazine, purporting to be about the Vucciria Market in Palermo. It described the Vucciria as a flourishing food market full of exciting fruits, vegetables and meat and fish. It said visiting the Vucciria is one of the most exciting things to do in … More The Vucciria Market in Palermo

Baths and Curses in Palermo’s Archaeological Museum

I recently visited Palermo’s Archaeological Museum (called “Antonino Salinas”). Most of it is closed for restoration, but there was still plenty to enjoy.   I sat for ten minutes serenely enjoying the sound of the fountain before exploring the part of the museum still open. Can you guess what this is?   It’s a Roman … More Baths and Curses in Palermo’s Archaeological Museum

The Botanical Gardens of Palermo

Palermo has a 200-year-old botanical garden with a vast and stunning plant collection and a crazily cheap entrance fee. Obviously there are different flowers to see each month: this is the garden in August. These photos are all by my super-talented sister Susanna. Click on any photo to see a high resolution enlargement.   Have you voted … More The Botanical Gardens of Palermo

Naughty pictures on the ceiling! The Cappella Palatina in Palermo’s Norman Palace

To find out about the Palatine Chapel in Palermo’s Norman Palace – and to learn why it has pictures of nude belly dancers on the ceiling – see my previous post, reblogged from a great blog about Sicilian history called Siquillya. These are some more colour pictures of the ceiling. My favourite image is the … More Naughty pictures on the ceiling! The Cappella Palatina in Palermo’s Norman Palace

PHOTO GALLERY: Palermo and other Sicilian towns

I am delighted to have permission to reblog this from dorsetdaze All the pictures, and the article, are by Dave, a talented photographer with an eye for the unusual. Sicily: a land of many faces March 13, 2014 Traffic and graffiti: two of Palermo’s trademarks. SICILY, eh? One minute it can make you smile, the next … More PHOTO GALLERY: Palermo and other Sicilian towns

The Life and Adventures of Santa Rosalia, Patron Saint of Palermo

I described, in my previous post, the sanctuary of Saint Rosalia, which is a baroque church facade with a drippy cave behind it. Now I’ll tell you about her amazing life. Santa Rosalia was born in about 1130, when Sicily was ruled by the Normans. The king was Roger the Second. I’ve been inside his … More The Life and Adventures of Santa Rosalia, Patron Saint of Palermo

The Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia on Monte Pellegrino, Palermo

Walking through the doorway of a magnificent Baroque church, and finding youself in a gloomy cave with water dripping on your head, has to be one of life’s most interesting experiences. The church is the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia. It stands at the very top of Monte Pellegrino (Pilgrim’s Mountain), which overlooks the whole bay … More The Sanctuary of Saint Rosalia on Monte Pellegrino, Palermo

The Celebrity Chefs of Palermo – They’re Offal!

Do you eat offal? is it forbidden by your religion? Or do you just think it tastes like poop? In Palermo, fast food sold in the streets is almost all made of offal. One of the absolute classic dishes of Palermo is U pani ca meusa, which means, “bread with spleen”. I ususally give this … More The Celebrity Chefs of Palermo – They’re Offal!

A bird’s eye view of Piazza San Domenico, Palermo

I took this photo from the rooftop café of La Rinascente, a swanky department store in central Palermo. This is PIAZZA SAN DOMENICO. On top of the giant column stands the virgin Mary. The piazza takes its name from the Chiesa San Domenico, which is out of frame to the left. The street with red … More A bird’s eye view of Piazza San Domenico, Palermo