Driving in Palermo is stressful. You can feel the tension in the car. I was so thankful to John for driving.
We parked a few blocks away from the Cappuccini Catacombs and met up with the rest of our group there.
I must admit I had not read up on these Catacombs before we went. I was expecting ancient Catacombs without bodies. Instead it was hundreds of exposed and decomposed bodies that passed away in the 1700 to early 1900s, dressed in their burial clothes. Some still had their skin and hair; others mostly bones. You could not take pictures but they had postcards.
It was hard to believe that these were once human beings...now they are quite gruesome, like something out of a horror film. For some macabre reason, people are drawn to it. I guess it’s a fascination with the unknown.
We then walked around the nearby cemetery which had family mausoleum after mausoleum.
The group decided to move our cars closer to the town centre and meet in front of the cathedral. It took us forever to worm our way through traffic and was nearly impossible to find parking. Finally we found an underground parking lot.
We passed a butcher that had carcasses in the window. At first I thought it was a rubber chicken before I realized that it was the real thing.
It was some distance from the cathedral. John attempted to lead us with his map. He lead us through a local market selling fish, meat, produce, olives and more.
I finally asked directions and we made it to the 12th century Palermo Cathedral. It was stunning. I would have liked to have spent more time there but there were a lot of other things we wanted to see.
We walked through the Garibaldi Gardens near the cathedral before finding a cafe for lunch.
Fully refreshed, we continued walking to the beautiful Quattro Canti which is a large square with matching statues and fountains on all four sides of the street.
We next checked out a nearby multi layered Pretoria fountain in a Piazza Pretoria. It was surrounded by buildings that looked very official...there were guards at the door.
Continuing down the pedestrian street, we finally bumped into the rest of our group.
We took a gelato break in front of the gorgeous Teatro Massimo (an opera house) before finding a nearby Mephisto store which was closed for the afternoon siesta. I looked in the window and they didn’t have any Mephistos I liked.
We made our way back to the car. Getting out of the city was ugly but once on the highway, we made it back in plenty time to have a nap before the evening’s birthday festivities.
The owner of the villa and his wife made the most awesome supper for our group....and the food kept coming and coming. It was our best meal yet. Sun dried tomatoes and ricotta, cheese and local honey, mussels, bruschetta, seafood pasta, tuna, a white fish, salad, carrot salad, cannolis, fresh fruit including prickly pairs, wine, persecco, Marsala and more. I’m glad I had a short nap because I was able to stay awake for the rest of our festivities.