My greatest delight in Palermo (apart from eating) was in wandering the labyrinthine back alleys in the old town. The architecture was remarkable, friezes on buildings that no one lived in anymore, graceful paintings on walls overhung with drying laundry, mysterious passageways, scrollwork around windows.

Some of the old town was dark and unsavory, but I never felt really unsafe there during the day.

It was like walking through deep canyons, sunlight only filtering down at midday, twists and turns leading who knows where. I got lost and unlost repeatedly.

Palermo too had its street icons embedded in the walls, a mixture of old and new.

And there was always more art and architecture. I tried to find the ignored places, not the big public statues.

Italians do love their officials in uniform, and their large marble public buildings. Here is a nod to their obsession:

But mostly there were just plain folks, the working people and housewives.

Finally it was time to fly back to Newark and from there to Manhattan. I took a final look out my balcony window and said goodbye to Palermo and Sicily.


back to start        on to Manhattan