It is impossible to see everything that a city like Palermo has to offer in only four days. There were a few things left on my “must-do” list — visiting the city’s Cathedral among the most important, at least for me. We chose to take back roads to the Cathedral, instead of using the easy route, straight up Via Vittorio Emanuele. I love taking side streets, as one never knows what one will discover. And in this case, we ended up, once again, at a market!I have a pretty good sense of direction, but even so, it is easy to get lost once you begin walking these streets. When that happens, the best thing to do is to simply give in to it all, and just keep on going. Before long, we found ourselves in a piazza, behind the Cathedral. The area behind the church contains some old ancient ruins, which are blocked off from foot traffic. While the ruins were interesting, the real attraction here is the church itself. It is magnificent! It is also quite large! The architecture is stunning — a mixture of different styles, all of which seem to blend together seamlessly. One enters the church through a side doorway. In front of the doorway, there is a lovely park area surrounded by statues, and adorned with fountains and art. Visiting the Cathedral is free of charge, but we decided to buy a ticket which would give us access to certain areas, such as the Treasury and the rooftop. I highly recommend doing this! Once you collect your ticket, you are led past the royal tombs of the Norman Kings, including Frederick II, Peter II of Aragon, William-Duke of Athens, as well as a few others. You are then led up a stairway, which will take you to the rooftop of the church. The view of the city, spread out before you, is spectacular!Once back inside, we explored a bit more of the church itself, including the beautiful crypt. The tombs in the crypt date from the Roman, Byzantine, and Norman periods. Next on my list was the Palazzo dei Normanni, with the Palatine Chapel, or Cappella Palatina. This was nearby, and an easy walk, so off we went.Unfortunately for us, we were visiting on a weekday, during work hours, so we were only allowed to visit the Cappella Palatina. Even so, the ticket price is well worth it, as the space is beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I will make a point of returning when I visit the city again, and this time planning it for a weekend, so that I can tour the entire complex.We spent the rest of the afternoon, wandering the city.
Next up: We begin our road trip with a drive towards our first destination, Trapani!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear.