What An Apse!

After a Bohemian Rhapsody-style thunderstorm early this morning, we headed to Palermo where our guide Jacqueline guided us on a walking tour from the Palermo Cathedral through Quattro Canti, the Church of Santa Caterina, the Fountain of Shame, and other sites of the Centro Storico (Historic Center) of Palermo.

Our senses were sparked by the smells, sites, sounds, and tastes of Ballaro’ market and a lunch of Palermo’s world-famous street food. Jacqueline and I had to eat all of the pane ca meusa (spleen sandwich) that our “intrepid” travelers were afraid to try! And that’s after only Rich and Tony tasted the stigghiola that I purchased to pass around! After lunch, we headed south to Monreale, where we had a special tour of the UNESCO recognized Arab-Norman cathedral. Special because we were able to walk up to the apse of the church and get the closest I’ve every been to some of my favorite mosaic scenes. You can see it on video from when ealier today, I broadcast live on Facebook.

What you’ll see is the signature Christ Pantocrator mosaic, William II’s throne, a scene of William II being crowned by Jesus Christ, and a scene of the Virgin Mother receiving the church from William II, who commissioned Monreale Cathedral to be built in late 12th century. I didn’t talk much while recording the video because I was in the the church; however, the video gives you a sense of the size and scope of this treasure that boasts more than 68,000 square feet of mosaic-tile scenes. All of that gold you see, is made from gold!

Watch it to experience Sicily together!

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