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Archive for sicily

Sicily’s White Elephant

By Linda Tancs

The Grande Hotel San Calogero in Sicily has been waiting for guests for over 60 years. Dubbed the ghost hotel, it stands vacant for decades now thanks to governmental gaffes and design flaws. The 300-bed, five-story hotel was intended to showcase southern Sicily’s Sciacca, a pretty seaside town built on rocky heights that overlook the Mediterranean. Sicily’s white elephant stands atop a rocky outcrop on Monte Kronio, within walking distance of the thermal springs and basilica.

Palace of the Normans

By Linda Tancs

A stronghold of Palermo, Sicily, the Palace of the Normans is a testament to the cultural, historical and religious influence of the region’s invaders over the centuries.  The palace was begun in the 9th century when Sicily was under Islamic rule and still retains Arabian vaults in the basement.  When the Normans conquered Sicily in 1072, the building was transformed into an administrative and residential compound marked by arcades and exquisitely designed gardens, an appropriate dwelling for the Sicilian kingdom established under Norman rule.  King Roger II added the stunning Cappella Palatina, a chapel boasting Byzantine, Islamic and Norman styles that is highly prized for its elegant mosaics.  Following additional reconstruction by the Spanish and Bourbons, the palace ultimately became, and remains, the seat of Sicily’s regional parliament.

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