Visit Palermo: a city of a thousands pt. 2

12/04/2021 Da News Commenti Disabilitati

Visit Palermo (Part 2)

The first part, here:

Palermo Markets: Palermo’s historical ties with the Arab world and its proximity to North Africa are also reflected in the noisy and frenetic activities that animate the streets of the historic centre. Each of the four old districts of the city has its own market, but “Vucciria”, “Ballarò” and “del Capo” are the main ones in terms of notoriety and historical heritage.

Majolica Museum: Majolica enthusiasts should definitely visit this one-of-a-kind museum: it contains a private collection of over 2300 pieces, mainly from Sicily and Naples and made between the 15th and 20th centuries. The founder of this Museum, Pio Mellina, collected this Maiolica for over 30 years. The tiles fill the walls and floors of the sixteenth-century Palazzo Torre Piraino, already a work of art in itself, with frescoed vaulted ceilings.

Palazzo dei Normanni: Seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015, this palace dates back to the 9th century (it is the oldest palace in Europe), but it owes its current appearance (and name) to a vast Norman makeover in which magnificent mosaics were added to the royal apartments and to the chapel, the Palatina Chapel. The fulcrums of the palace medieval were four towers: Joharia, Chirimbi, Greca and Pisana. The various apartments of this monumental complex, closed to the public from Tuesday to Thursday, includes the fascinating Sala dei Venti, inside the Joharia tower, which takes its name from the eighteenth-century wooden ceiling with the compass rose in the centre and is decorated with magnificent mosaics, and the adjacent Sala di Ruggero II, the king’s bedroom in the Pisana Tower, dating back to the 12th century and famous for its precious mosaics that do not depict sacred elements, but plants and animals.

The Museum of the Inquisition: Housed on the lower floors and in the basement of the fourteenth-century Palazzo Chiaramonte Steri, this museum offers an interesting overview of the role of the Inquisition in Palermo. Thousands of ‘heretics’ were in fact imprisoned here between 1601 and 1782; the labyrinth of the ancient cells has been carefully restored, bringing to light the graffiti and the ‘artistic’ expressions of the prisoners (with a more or less sacred theme). The itinerary also includes two works by Renato Guttuso: the first is a graphic depiction of the strangling of the inquisitor De Cisneros by the hand 22-year-old handcuffed prisoner Diego La Mattina; the other is a masterful painting from 1974 that portrays the Vucciria Market and in which the artist, wife and lover of the artist, much younger, also appear.