Planning a trip to Sicily? If you like Naples, you’ll love Palermo. Here are a few highlights from my visit.
Palermo reminds visitors of the once-upon-a-time importance of Sicily. A thousand years ago, with a population of 100,000, it was second only to Córdoba in Europe.
The cathedral at Monreale (just outside of Palermo) is slathered in gold leaf — two tons of it, they claim…another powerful testimony to the affluence and importance of Sicilian culture in the 12th century.
I visited Palermo on a Best of Sicily tour. Our guide, Alfio Di Mauro, provided a constant parade of experiences…like meeting a charming contessa (countess) and touring her elegant world inside the Palazzo Conte Federico.
A local guide, Jackie, took us on a side-trip into the spooky yet thought-provoking Capuchin Crypt. Until the 19th century, the Capuchin monks provided a remarkably public final resting place for Palermo’s leading citizens. Today, tourists are welcome to explore the vast underground collection of still-clothed skeletons and encouraged to ponder their own mortality.
This is Day 12 of my “100 Days in Europe” series. As I travel with Rick Steves’ Europe Tours, research my guidebooks, and make new TV shows, I’m reporting on my experiences in Italy, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, and more. Thanks for joining me here on my blog and via Facebook.