Sunday, March 13Being in Palermo is like being in New York — a big city filled with non-stop people and lots to see and so you walk and walk and walk and your feet get tired but you keep walking because there is another piazza or spectacular church to see. And everywhere you go, there are shops to look into and people sipping espressos and children playing soccer and old men walking arm and arm strolling the city or hanging out in square, another alley to look down, another palazzo to peak into.
Palermo is not like Paris, Rome, or Florence; there are museums but there are no must-see ones like the Louvre or the Ufizi. Instead, the art and history are in the architecture and churches. For Americans and more so Americans who are not Catholics, the number of churches and their place on a travelers’ visit list is sometimes hard to understand. Until the Enlightenment in the mid 1700s, the church was the center of religious, cultural, and intellectual life. Artists and architects showed off their talents in the churches; the rich showed off their wealth by supporting those churches and having special chapels built in them.