Virtual Travel Tuesday: Palermo, Sicily

Like most people, my travel has been severely limited this past month and for the foreseeable future. I was scheduled to have already been to Beaujolais in France, I would have been heading to California this week, and then South America at the end of the month. Perhaps the most disappointing? I was due to attend the Giro d’Italia (Italy’s version of the Tour de France) in May.

Instead, in the past month, the furthest I have been from our home in Houston has been about 10 miles when I went on a bike ride out to the Western edge of the city. If you take the bike out of the equation, the furthest I have “traveled” is 3.1 miles to our local grocery store, the H.E.B.

Where has all the faux-wood paneling gone?

As a kid, my family’s idea of travel was a 3-4 hour drive south on Interstate 75 from Detroit down to Dayton, Ohio to visit my maternal grandparents. The one “family vacation” that I recall was another trip on the same interstate, but quite a bit further: about 20 hours in the family truckster (it was actually a 1974 Ford LTD Family Squire) down to Captiva Island in Florida.

That was it.

So perhaps it was no surprise that, when given the chance, I went as far East as I could to go to college (Brunswick, Maine), and then, during my junior year, even further east to Strasbourg, France.

And I have been traveling ever since.

Thus, this lull is causing me to become a bit stir crazy and my wanderlust is in full bloom. For a few days now, I have wondered where I would go if I could. Where would be the first place I would visit once it made sense to travel again?

Well, today, right now, that place would be Palermo, Sicily. I have been there twice over the last few years and would go there again in a heartbeat. In order to lift my spirits a bit here are a few photos from my current favorite European city.

My VRBO was a short walk from the Quattro Canti (the four corners), the traditional center of the city, that represents the four seasons, the four kings of Spain that ruled over Sicily, and the four patronesses of the city. This is the Southwest corner, with the cupola of San Giuseppe dei Teatini in the background. It represents Spring, King Charles V, and Christina of Bolsena.

A better look at the church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini, perhaps the best example of Sicilian Baroque.

The Teatro Massimo.

A bit further along is the Cattedrale di Palermo, started in the 12th Century, is a blend of several different styles and traditions.

The western façade reveals a Moorish influence.

The cathédrale is protected by numerous statues.

I begrudgingly left the cathedral and started to explore a bit. The center of Palermo is dotted with narrow streets, teeming with life, often bookended with monuments.

The main drag of the Mercato di Capo (I have no idea who the stately gentleman is in the foreground, but I imagine he is a count).

I stopped to watch the card game for a bit, and while I can’t be sure, I think they asked if I wanted to join in. I demurred—the stakes appeared to be rather high.

The Palazzo dei Normanni.

The Porta Nuova, part of the Palazzo dei Normanni.

Among the many sculptures that adorn the Porta Nuova, there is clear evidence of the Moorish roots of the structure.

There is plenty of beauty in Palermo.

And churches abound: the Church of San Domenico.

Next week I’ll be back with another virtual destination!


About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Sicily, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Virtual Travel Tuesday: Palermo, Sicily

  1. Sheree says:

    Interesting choice of favourite city, although your photos certainly do it justice. Looking forward to your choice next week as we’re all virtual travellers at the moment.


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