A Curated Experience

Yesterday in Palermo, our guide Jacqueline explained in depth the politics of Norman king Roger II (pictured here, being crowned by Jesus in the Martorana Church), and then applied the discourse to what is happening in Italy today. The inspired discussion at dinner last night proved why I can’t emphasize enough the importance of working…

With A Cherry On Top

The red domes of San Cataldo church overlook Via Maqueda and Piazza Bellini in Palermo. San Cataldo was built during the early-Norman era in the 1150s by Maio of Bari, William I’s top emir, or commander. Its red domes and elegant window details illustrate the unique Arab-Norman architectural style found only in Sicily.

Connect Through Travel

Connect through the emotions of Campania and Sicily next summer! Join me, Allison Scola of Experience Sicily, and Danielle Oteri of Feast on History for a multigenerational tour exploring art, myth, culture, and food, June 29-July 8, 2018. Ladies from Pompeii (pictured left) will intrigue you and your granddaughter, while kings from Arab-Norman Palermo (pictured…

Monreale’s Back Side

Not many people venture to the back side of Monreale Cathedral, but more should. The back of the apse, photographed, is a work of art unto itself. The fascinating stone work incorporates designs of inlaid lava stone, a technique called intarsias, which is a signature element of Arab-Norman architecture.  If you have a few minutes…

The Palm for Paradise

These images, found in Palermo’s Palatine Chapel (and importantly, also at the Cathedral of Monreale) depict palm trees. Palm trees are symbolic of different things: In Christianity, palm branches are attributed to the “victory of the spirit over the flesh” (Wikipedia); hence why many martyrs are depicted holding palm branches. We also need to consider…

The Results Of A Dream 

The cloister, or in Italian “chiostro,” of Monreale Cathedral always pleases me. Its 228 individually designed and decorated columns offer visitors a sanctuary from the bustle of the city of Palermo, which is about 30 minutes by car to the north. Monreale Cathedral was commissioned by the Norman King William II, “The Good” (1172-1189) in…

The Splendid Zisa

When approached from this side angle, you can see that La Zisa (a name derived from the Arab word “El Aziz,” or The Splendid) is a combination fortress and palace. Commissioned by Norman King William I (1153-1166) and completed by his son, William II (1172-1189), the residence, now a museum and historic architectural wonder, is…