Posted on July 14, 2016
Today is the first of two days of the most important festival in Palermo's calendar: the Santa Rosalia Festival.
If you are wondering where Palermo is, it is the capital of Sicily. And if you are wondering where Sicily is, it is the island being “kicked” by the “boot” that is Italy. (Sicily is an “autonomous region” of Italy.)
Here are some highlights of the festival:
- A parade with floats – one of which includes a statue of Santa Rosalia – winds through the streets in the oldest part of Palermo.
- There are fireworks!
- Some of the treats enjoyed during the festival include pasta con le sarde (pasta with fried sardines – which are small fish) and sfinciuni (which means, in Sicilian, “old woman's face”). Don't worry, sfinciuni isn't actually made of old woman's face! It is a sort of flat bread dotted with onions, tomato, anchovies (more small fish!), cheese, and toasted breadcrumbs. It sounds like pizza, and I think some people say it is Sicilian pizza, but others say it is not pizza!
- Santa Rosalia is supposed to be Palermo's patron saint. She was a young woman born into an aristocratic family; it is said that she avoided the marriage arranged by her father by running away and living the rest of her life as a hermit in a cave. It is also said that, centuries later, she (or perhaps her bones) miraculously eradicated the plague that was killing off many of the people of Palermo.
Here are some highlights of Palermo and Sicily:
- I love old stuff, and Sicily offers Ancient Greek, Roman, and even earlier ruins!
- There are plenty of gorgeous cathedrals.
- There is some fun shopping - everywhere from open-air markets to modern malls.
- Check out the white sand on this beach! And the blue of the Mediterranean Sea!
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