Friday, 4 March 2016

Sicily: culture and conquest at British Museum

All friends of Sicily are very much looking forward to the exciting new special exhibition at British Museum this spring. Sicily: culture and conquest opens on 21 April 2016  and end 14 August 2016.

Focusing on the Greek and Norman period, the exhibition tells Sicily’s fascinating stories – from the arrival of the Greeks and their encounters with the Phoenicians and other settlers, to the extraordinary period of enlightenment under Norman rule in the 11th to 13th centuries.

Sicily has been shaped by waves of conquest and settlement by different peoples over 4,000 years. Since the 7th century BC, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans all settled or invaded the island, lured by its fertile lands and strategic location. Over time, this series of conquests forged a cultural identity unlike any other.

For much of its history, Sicily was admired and envied for its wealth, cultural patronage and architecture. In the exhibition, ancient Greek sculpture, architectural decorations from temples, churches and palaces, early coinage, stunning gold jewellery, and Norman mosaics and textiles demonstrate Sicily’s diversity, prosperity and significance over hundreds of years.

Discover an island with a cosmopolitan history and identity – a place where the unique mix of peoples gave rise to an extraordinary cultural flowering. The art and objects they produced are some of the most beautiful and important in the history of the Mediterranean.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The towers in Sicily

The towers that surround the coasts of Sicily brings us back at a time of red alert in the entire Christian world, Jean Paul Barreaud explains in his marvellous TV series Sicilia svelata. Emperor Charles V built many defensive walls. In 1535 Charles V beat the Turks in a battle in the Bay of Tunis. Later, in 1571, his son Don Juan of Austria gathered soldiers of the Christian world in Messina ent to Greece to win the Battle of Lepanto against the Muslims.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Saint Lucy's Day 13 December

Saint Lucy / Santa Lucia

The feast day of St. Lucia of Syracuse, known as Saint Lucy's Day, is celebrated in the West on 13 December. Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia (Italian: Santa Lucia), was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution.

She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches.

The photo shows a statue of Saint Lucy outside the Cathedral in Siracusa.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Now you can win the book "Palermo: City of Kings" - enter before 9 November

Win a signed copy of the critically acclaimed author Jeremy Dummett's new book "Palermo: City of Kings"on our Facebook page!


The winner will be announced 9 November!

 You can read about the book here:

Monday, 27 July 2015

The distance between Palermo and some other cities in Sicily

Palermo-Cefalù 69 km
Palermo-Siracusa 277 km
Palermo-Agrigento 131 km
Palermo-Noto 303 km
Palermo-Taormina 272 km
Palermo-Catania 227 km
Palermo-Trapani 101 km

Roger II receiving the crown directly from Christ and not the Pope. Mosaic in the Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription Rogerios Rex in Greek letters. After the Sicilian Vespers of 1282 the island's nobility gathered in the church for a meeting that resulted in the Sicilian crown being offered to Peter III of Aragon.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

San Cataldo, Palermo

Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo), Palermo

The Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo), an example of the wonderful Arabian-Norman architecturein Palermo. San Cataldo is one of the sites in Palermo inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. San Cataldo was founded by William I's chancellor, Maio of Bari c. 1160. In that year, Maio was assassinated with the result that San Cataldo's interior never was decorated. After 1787 the church served as a post office (!), before it was restored in 1885.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Sites in Sicily inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015

Capital in the Monreale cloister.

La Zisa, Norman castle in Palermo. 

The Palatine chapel (Cappella Palatina): The wooden ceiling of star-shaped panels, carved and painted by 12th century craftsmen from Maghreb. 

Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), Palermo

Christ Pantocrator in Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), Palermo. The 12th century mosaics were executed by Byzantine craftsmen.

Sicilian sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015:

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy)

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale.

Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).

The monuments now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

- Palazzo dei Normanni (The Norman Palace)
- Cappella Palatina (The Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace)
- Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti
- Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (also known as the Martorana)
- Church of San Cataldo
- Cathedral of Palermo
- The Zisa Palace (La Zisa)
- The Cuba Palace (La Cuba)

Cathedral (Duomo)

Cathedral (Duomo)

UNESCO World Heritage List

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The distance between Catania and some other cities in Sicily

Catania-Palermo 227 km
Catania-Cefalù 199 km
Catania-Siracusa 66 km
Catania-Agrigento 167 km
Catania-Noto 93 km
Catania-Taormina 53 km
Catania-Trapani 325 km