Photographs of Sicily, whose treasures include Palermo, Monreale, Piazza Armerina, Mount Etna and much more

Photographs of Sicily:
Palermo, Monreale, Piazza Armerina, Mount Etna and Much More!

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The capital of Sicily, Palermo is a treasure trove unexpected by most visitors. The city revolves around the intersection of Via Maqueda and Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the so-called Quattro Canti which delineates four rival quarters. Artistic rivalries abound as well, as exemplified in the massive Palazzo dei Normanni, Roger II's palace. Inside, the Palatine Chapel is the city's best example of Norman art. It contains some magnificent gilded mosaics. On the second floor are the breathtaking royal apartments. Greek rites are still the norm at the 12th-century Church of the Martorana, with its exquisite Byzantine mosaics, such as the one showing Christ crowning Sicily's Norman king, Roger II. San Giorgio dei Genovesi is a rare example of Sicilian Renaissance. Sicily's kings and queens are buried in the breathtaking cathedral; on a smaller but no less extravagant scale are the stuccos in the Oratorio di San Domenico, whose altarpiece is by Van Dyck. The Oratorio di San Lorenzo is a masterpiece of Sicilian roccoco, contrasted starkly by Caravaggio's Nativity, his next to last work. San Giovanni degli Eremiti is one of the most famous Norman buildings in Palermo. Palazzo Chiaramonte is one of the city's most impressive medieval buildings. Most of the above sites can be visited on foot, starting from the intersection of Quattro Canti. It is better not to take showy jewels, furs, family heirlooms or valuable documents. You will never be in physical danger in Palermo but you could be mugged if you look like "easy prey."

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Market Day in Palermo!


Monreale Cathedral

The Cathedral of Monreale is a breathtaking monument to the wealth and artistic taste of the Norman kings. It was begun about 1170 by William II; in 1182 Pope Lucius III elevated it to the rank of a metropolitan cathedral. The splendid cloister was completed about 1200. It is, however, the 70,000 square feet of glittering glass mosaics covering the interior which make this church so magnificent. A veritable army of Byzantine artists decorated almost the entire surface of the walls with minute mosaics, creating brilliantly-colored scenes on a gold background. The pictures are arranged in tiers, divided by horizontal and vertical bands. In parts of the choir there are five of these tiers of subjects or single figures one above another.



Villa Romana del Casale, Piazza Armerina

Between the end of the 3rd century and the beginning of the 4th century DC, several extremely important Roman families starting vacationing in eastern Sicily. They built villas for themselves which must have been unparalleled, because even the floors, the only thing left to us, were covered with what are considered to be the richest and most varied mosaics in the world.

Baroque Towns of Val di Noto

Eight towns in southeastern Sicily (Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli) were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of an earthquake which devastated an entire region that year. The towns have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because they represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building.


More Pictures from Sicily


Tyndaris - Ancient Roman Villa


Zingaro Nature Reserve

Marettimo - The Village

Staircase in Caltagirone

Good Friday Parade in Enna

Carmine church (1681) in
the Alberghieria quarter of Palermo

Sicilian ceramics

The crater on the island of Vulcano

Mt. Etna
Good Friday Parade in Mazara del Vallo

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