aside PREPLANNING OF 2016 TRIP TO PALERMO IN SICILY, PART III

PORTA DEI GRECI, ENTRY INTO LA KALSA
PORTA DEI GRECI, ENTRY INTO LA KALSA

The following is a description of the Kalsa district and its attractions from Lonely Planets book, “Southern Italy:”

“Due to its proximity to the port, La Kalsa was subjected to carpet bombing during WWII, leaving it derelict and run down. Mother Teresa considered it akin to the shanty towns of Calcutta and established a mission here. Thankfully, this galvanized embarrassed authorities into action and the quarter is now undergoing extensive restoration.”

“Housed in the stately 15th century Palazzo Abatellis, this fine museum, Galleria Regionale della Sicilia, features works by Sicilian artists from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Its greatest treasure is Triunfo della Morte (Triumph of Death), a magnificent fresco in which Death is represented as a demonic skeleton mounted on a wasted horse, brandishing a wicked looking scythe while leaping over his hapless victims.”

Galleria Regionale della Sicilia
Galleria Regionale della Sicilia

“The Galleria d’Arte Moderna is housed in a sleekly renovated 15th century palazzo which metamorphosed into a convent in the 17th century. Divided over three floors, the wide ranging collection of 19th and 20th century Sicilian art is beautifully displayed. There’s a regular program of modern exhibitions here, as well as an excellent bookshop and gift shop.”

“Housed in the basement of the 14th century Palazzo Chiaromonte Steri, this recently opened museum, Museo dell’Inquisizione, offers a chilling but fascinating look at the legacy of the Inquisition in Palermo. The honeycomb of former cells has been painstakingly restored to reveal multiple layers of prisoners’ graffiti and artwork (religious or otherwise).”

Galleria d
Galleria d”Arte Moderna / Modern Art Museum

“The whimsical museum, Museo Internazionale delle Marionette, houses over 3500 marionettes, puppets, glove puppets and shadow figures from Palermo, Catania and Naples, as well as from further-flung places such as Japan, southeast Asia, Africa, China and India. From October to may, weekly puppet shows are staged on the museum’s top floor in a beautiful decorated traditional theater complete with a hand-cranked music machine.”

The Lonely Planet in their book, “Southern Italy,” added a commentary on the puppet theater history in Sicily which is as follows:

“Since the 18th century, the Opera dei Pupi (traditional Sicilian puppet theatre) has been enthralling adults and children alike. The shows are a mini theatrical performance with some puppets standing 1.5m high – a completely different breed from the glove puppet popular in the West. These characters are intricately carved from beech, olive or lemon wood with realistic – looking features: flexible joints ensure they have no problem swinging their swords or beheading dragons.’

Museo delle Marionette
Museo delle Marionette

“Effectively the soap operas of their day, Sicilian puppet shows expounded the deepest sentiments of life–unrequited love, treachery, thirst for justice and the anger and frustration of the oppressed. The swashbuckling tales center on the legends of Charlemagne’s heroic knights, Orlando and Rinaldo, with an extended cast including the fair Angelica, the treacherous Gano di Magonza and forbidding Saracen warriors. Good puppeteers are judged on the dramatic effect they can create–lots of stamping feet and gripping running commentary—and on their speed and skill in directing the battle scenes.”

The following is Lonely Planet’s write up on Palermo’s Street Food:

STREET FOOD VENDOR
STREET FOOD VENDOR

“If you were taught that it was bad manners to eat in the street, you can break the rule… The mystery is simply how Palermo is not the obesity capital of Europe given just how much eating goes on! Palermitans are at it all the time: when they’re shopping, romancing commuting,  discussing business–basically at any time of day. What they are enjoying is the buffitieri–little hot snacks prepared at stalls and meant to be eaten on the spot.”

“Kick off the morning with panne e panelle, Palermo’s chickpea fritter sandwich- great for vegetarians and a welcome change from a sweet custard-filled croissant. You might also want to go for some crocche (potato croquettes, quaglie (eggplants cut lengthwise and fanned out to resemble a bird’s feathers, then fried) or sfincione (a spongy, oily pizza topped with onions and caciocavallo cheese). In summer, locals also enjoy a freshly baked Brioche filled with ice cream or granite (crushed ice mixed with fresh fruit, almonds, pistachios or coffee.”

Erice-Castle View
Erice-Castle View

My research has verified that there are one day tours on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from Palermo to Erice, Trapani and Segesta, and another Sunday tour to Agrigento through Tours of Sicily for up to 16 people, and their promotion advertisements are as follows:

“Meet your driver/guide at 8:30 AM. Departure to tour western Sicily where our first stop is hilltop Erice, founded by Elymians and settled by Phoenicians whose walls are still standing. The goddess Venus was worshipped here, near what is now a castle. The charming medieval streets are full of interesting niches, like the pastry shops offering local specialties. Next we travel to coastal Trapani to view the historic salt marshes and windmills. Later, we’ll visit an olive grove for a snack (this is included in the tour price). This afternoon we continue onto Segesta, originally an Elymian settlement later Hellenized, to visit the Doric temple (admission fee not included), perhaps the best-preserved Greek temple in the world.” Then we return to Palermo around 5:00 pm.”

AGRIGENTO
AGRIGENTO

“Meet your driver/guide at 8:30 AM. See the splendor of Plato’s Greece. This itinerary takes you southward across Sicily’s scenic Sicanian Mountains to the ancient Greek temples of Agrigento, which boasts some of the most majestic classical Greek architecture in the world. Akragas, as it was known in antiquity, was one of the most important cities of the Greek world, a center of culture and learning said to rival Syracuse and Athens. Our tour begins with a visit of the archeology museum on the edge of the vast park. Following time at leisure for lunch (not included), we’ll explore the ancient city and temples, set amidst timeless olive groves and almond orchards. Then we return to Palermo. Travel time between Palermo and Agrigento is about 90 minutes.” The scheduled return time is 5:30 pm.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Kalsa – Palermo’s Arab Quarter – Best of Sicily Magazine http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art184.htm-It’s a city within a city. Often overlooked by visitors, Palermo’s Kalsa district is an unpolished gem built upon more medieval history than entire Old World cities.

I’ll think of something later: Around La Kalsa davidnice.blogspot.com/2013/04/around-la-kalsa.html

Apr 5, 2013 – I now adore Palermo beyond all reason, and I imagine even more … Where better to start than with our enfolding haven…

Sicily Tours 2015 – Excursions, day tours from Palermo to … www.toursofsicily.com/ Departure to tour western Sicily where our first stop is hilltop Erice, founded by … Agrigento Reserve this tour right now! Full Day (8:30-5:30) from Palermo most … IMPORTANT: A number of independent “guides” in Sicily offer excursions …

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