Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Palermo: Cathedral, Gate, Baroque, Swabians, Santa Rosalia

Palermo, Sicily. Cathedral

Palermo. Its Cathedral shows Norman and Byzantine influences. See

Palermo, Sicily. Gate to City
The the old gate to the city.

US troops entered Palermo with tanks in 1943. See "images" search for Palermo in WWII. Also see the spectacular photos of Palermo and other cities at this website:

Baroque architecture, Sicily

The mix of buildings, showing the crossroads of cultures through the centuries. Plain, fancy, religious, folk. There are also ruins remaining from World War II.

Migrating and invading groups. We found out later that Normans ruled here, this was a stopping point for Crusades; and then Swabians (Germany) took over.

Swabians:  They came to an ignominious turn in the road in literature. The Brothers Grimm made fun of Swabians in their fairy tale, The Seven Swabians.

The hapless doltish seven had a great spear made and all seven were to carry it forward, with the predictable consequence that a misperception by one in the front, or the back, caused a wide swing of the spear, and disaster -- a single frog ending up conquering them all see :// - see Schwabisch Hall at Germany Road Ways. A fine town, very large buildings, and why should they be so scoffed.

Market area, Palermo - news 5/20/07. New York Times "Journeys" article, on Sicily. Fine write-up on the vibrant life of Palermo's fading market area, the Vucciria. Fishermen at Piaza Caracciolo, other vendors in other locations for fruit, vegetables, every day but Sunday.

The article notes the view that development is squeezing out the older areas and their buildings, mostly bombed, and that there had been an anti-Mafia mayor, Leoluca Orlando, who kept the money-making razers in check. Now he is gone.

More from the article: There is also artichoke wine there - good for digestion, apparently. We missed that. We did hear the vendors calling out their products, another disappearing custom. We also missed an indoor "farm" in an old theater - feed the piglets. Look for it. Teatro Vittorio, in the middle of the Vucciria. We will next time. Now that we know.

Santuario Santa Rosalia.  We saw the Santuario Santa Rosalia, the church in the cave, at Monte Pellegrino,  see  She is said to have saved Palermo from the Black Plague. She started living an ascetic life here in 1159; but it was in 1624 that she appeared to a lost hunter above the Bay of Palermo, and in a vision said to him to tell the city officials about the cave.  They came, and found her remains, and they are still at the cave church, and the city miraculously was spared from the Black Plague of the time. See ://

 full size image
Fair use thumbnail of the cave entrance from wikimedia/commons. This is an active place of worship, relics of the saints to whom a place is dedicated are always of interest, and saints' bodies that do not rot; but we are uncomfortable intruding on their customs and taking flash pictures there.

We opted out of the Capuchin Catacombs at Palermo, with the skeletons. We do see skeletons and parts of in many churches, as relics, or in ossuaries for the dead from the Plague or the Thirty Years' War, as in Kudowa in Poland, see Poland Road Ways; or near Hradec Kralove in a church ossuary, Czech Road Ways.

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