After visiting the cathedrals in Palermo and Monreale, I returned to the port and then sat out to meet Mr. McB for lunch in Palermo.
On my way to our meeting point, I walked past the Teatro Politeama. Initial construction on this theatre was finished in 1874 with the roof being added around 1890. The bronze chariot is driven by characters meant to represent the artistic talents. The building’s ochre exterior is reminiscent of ancient constructions.
I met Mr. McB outside the Teatro Massimo. This opera house is the largest in Italy and is the third-largest in Europe. Does it look familiar? Yes, this is the site of the opera house scenes in The Godfather III. On the day of our visit, many of the students who participated in the general strike were milling about smoking and talking. There were also a number of vendors trying to sell flowers and umbrellas.
After meeting up, we briefly considered our options and decided on a nearby pizzeria. Ristorante al 59 is the kind of place that is popular with tour groups because it is very approachable and has a little personality. It also has free WiFi but McB and I got to talking and totally forgot to take advantage of this. The bathrooms are also quite clean.
We enjoyed pizza bianca or white pizza. It was very tasty with a crispy crust and quality cheese. Just like every other sit-down restaurant in Italy, and most of Europe for that matter, you are not going to hurry through lunch. The service is good but European. If you want to make a quick getaway, you will need to communicate that with your waiter.
After lunch, Mr. McB decided to go back to the ship while I still had more exploring to do. I made it back by the Quattro Canti for another look.
I took a quick left and ended up at Fontana Pretoria. Our pre-trip research warned us that this racy fountain caused quite the stir back in its day thanks to all the nude figures.
The enormous fountain was originally housed at a Medici villa and was later sold to the Senate of Palermo and moved. Buildings were demolished to make way for this installation.
The “fountain of shame” is located very close to a police station. It’s a bit comical to see those saucy nudes so close the the officers of the law.
This little cherub stands on the outer edge of the fountain. Can you see the trinacria on the disc above his head?
The statue below is the only one in the whole area wearing clothes. He seems a bit disgusted by all the nudists behind him, doesn’t he?
The Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio or San Nicolò dei Greci, commonly called the Martorana is located near the fountain. The church’s foundation charter is in Greek and Arabic and dates to 1143. Just like Monreale, the church’s architecture shows a strong Islamic influence.
Having seen interior photos since our trip, I’m sad that I didn’t take time to go inside. Oh well, there were other things to see.
While the rain and fatigue kept me from walking toward the Norman palace and other sites, I did take my own sweet time heading back to the ship. I wanted to get a feel for the city.
Forget a tour bus, this tour carriage seemed to be the way to go.
Friday afternoon traffic was picking up and my body was ready for a sit so I walked toward the water by the Porta Felice.
We were on the port side of the ship which just happened to be facing what looked like grain silos. After relaxing in our cabin, we went out to the sun deck to take some final afternoon shots of Palermo.
We had reservations for Jacques, the ship’s French restaurant but neither of us was in the mood to have a four-course meal at 8:30 so we went to the other extreme and ordered room service which meant a four-course meal in pajamas on our couch at 6. It was a really nice change of pace. I recommend taking advantage of room service if you are feeling a little “eh” and just need something low key.