The adventures of Chili III
Peter & Belinda Vernon
Thu 21 Apr 2022 12:56
On 12th April we set sail from Trapani in bright sunshine to sail round Capo San Vito to Castelmare de Golfo. A good day's sailing with Graham enjoying being back on the water for the first time in 3 years. We arrived in the evening and tied up to a half-built pontoon. A pretty harbour, especially in the evening with the lights glowing a welcoming yellow along the waterfront and the great mass of darkening cliffs overlooking the village.
We had to be off at 7:30 when the workmen arrived, so breakfast was had en-route to Palermo. We were struck with the beauty of the coastline along this north coast of Sicily - mountainous, green and with scattered hillside houses.
We tied up on the quay at one of the small marina concessions, "Yacht Club Mediterraneo." There was no-one there, but we found a good spot with an easy walk into the City Centre. The ability to sail into the very heart of great cities like Palermo and walk from the boat to all the great sights is one of the joys of sailing.
We stayed in Palermo for 4 nights in part for weather but also to make the most of a fascinating city. The more we immersed ourselves, the more it grew on us. Palermo is built on layer after layer of history going back for millennia and everywhere are grand baroque churches, massive four-square Palazzos interconnected by winding streets of balconied tenements, washing everywhere. Our memories will be of delicious food especially almond pastries and deserts - a Palermo delicacy; the Capella Palatina in the Palazzo Normani (1130), an exquisite Byzantine / Arab chapel covered with the most beautiful gold Mosaics; and the regional art gallery of Sicily in Palazzo Abatellis, filled with Sicilian art from the Middle Ages to 18th centuries including the stunning Virgin Annunciate by Antonelloda Messina.
On Good Friday we were privileged to witness two of the Easter processions for which Palermo is famous with the statues of the Virgin and crucified Christ carried aloft by 36 immaculately dressed men of all ages as they paraded in the square beside the church. The band was loud, people of all ages were there to celebrate. It was a powerful and quite moving occasion.
Palermo is gritty, in places neglected and grimy, filled with beautiful architecture fusing Arabic with European, vibrant, distinctive and with the most delicious food we have found anywhere. We loved it.