A Time to Die – the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily

The history books about Sicily have little to say about the time of the Spanish rule. I find this strange, because the Spanish changed Sicily more than any other conqueror. The way they wanted this island is the way it still is: the Sicilians just cannot seem to shake them off.   Some history books … More A Time to Die – the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily

Multicultural Sicily: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

This afternoon we went for a walk around central Palermo. In Piazza Politeama we saw these fellows. The man at the bottom was sitting cross-legged on a glass tumbler. All along Via Ruggiero Settimo there were buskers playing drums and guitars, there were fire-breathers and jugglers, there were men on stilts making balloon animals for the … More Multicultural Sicily: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

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 ‘Cult of the Beheaded People’ in Palermo

There’s a small road in Palermo called “Via dei Decollati,” which means “Street of the Beheaded People.” In medieval times, this area was just outside the city and criminals were beheaded here. Unfortunately the Sicilian government was corrupt in those days – not any more, of course! – and many innocent people were beaheaded, too. … More The ‘Cult of the Beheaded People’ in Palermo