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Incredible Palermo

#1
I thought Palermo deserved it's own thread. Visiting was a last minute decision tacked on to the end of our Sicily trip. What a great decision.

I thought Palermo would be crowded, dirty and hot. Well I was correct about it being hot but not the rest. The old town is very walkable and with the exception of a couple of areas not crowded at all. It is filled with beautiful and peaceful piazzas, beautiful and imposing buildings and ancient chiesas(churches). I cannot due justice to the mosaics and marble in The Cappella Palatina. Drawing on Byzantine, Arabic and Christian cultures, the mosaics and marble were done in the 12th century and are strikingly well preserved. It is simply stunning to see. Other churches also have art work showing how many cultures lived together in Palermo.

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It is difficult to get a good picture.
In addition to the churches, there are majestic buildings, imposing statues and the most delicious granites.
 
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#2
This street sign was in Italian, Hebrew and Arabic. I thought that was interesting. It was the only one we saw. Perhaps, an old neighborhood where these cultures lived together.

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joe

100+ Posts
#5
This street sign was in Italian, Hebrew and Arabic. I thought that was interesting. It was the only one we saw. Perhaps, an old neighborhood where these cultures lived together.

View attachment 13011
Well, that got me interested....so I did a bit of checking : it seems that "Cartari" might mean "scribes" or "papermakers", and indeed might refer to the presence of Jews in Palermo, and to the fact that some of them were employed as scribes, because of their knowledge of languages.

Spain evicted the Jews from Sicily in 1492, but no doubt that Palermo has a multicultural history. Via Meschita is another alley not far from there, whose name is apparently the Arabic word for synagogues and churches.
Some Sicilians are now discovering that they have Jewish ancestry, because of the fact that some Jews preferred to convert to Christianity (although some of these continued to practice the faith secretly).

Last year Palermo’s archbishop, Corrado Lorefice, granted the emerging Jewish community the use of an unused oratory, to be transformed into Palermo’s first stable synagogue in five centuries, and it is indeed situated in that section of Palermo.

Some articles on the subject :
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/world/europe/italy-jews-sicily-expulsion.html
https://www.timesofisrael.com/500-years-after-being-wiped-out-sicilian-jewish-life-is-reborn/
https://siciliangodmother.com/2015/10/15/the-jewish-ghosts-of-palermo/
 
#6
I spent a morning wandering around Palermo last October and it was a wonderful place to explore on foot. I didn't have time to visit the Cappella Palatina, but the mosaics in the Church of La Martorana were wonderful.
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As was the baroque interior of St Mary of Gesu.
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I was with an escorted group and regretted that we didn't have more time there.
 

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