Theatrical Palermo

“Imparerete, a vostre spese, che nella vita incontrerete tante maschere e pochi volti”  {Luigi Pirandello}

“You will learn, at your own expenses, that you will meet many masks and only a few faces in your life.”

The Sicilian Literary Nobel Prize Winner, Author, Dramatist, Novelist, Poet, Short Story Writer Luigi Pirandello, born in the province of Agrigento, Sicily said it simply and well.   Otherwise reframed, life is an incredible theatre stage or set, where real and absurd characters will enter and exit your life with unexpected twists and turns.  Along your journey, you will meet many charlatans, many will speak a thousand words and say nothing, others wishing to put smoke before your eyes to masquerade depth,  characters mostly of no substance whose entertaining presence in your life should only help you in discovering exactly who you are and where you want to go, most of all who to keep and not among your friends.  Time is the greatest beholder of truth – and, fear not, the truth always rises to the surface.  There is no better theatrical city in Sicily than Palermo, our Capital, as you approach it, you’ll notice a spread of palazzi, appartamenti, case in the natural amphitheatre of La Conca D’Oro inside La Cala harbor.  The mountains you see all around are an extension of the Madonie mountains.  Every time I reach, I am mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty of the city skyline from high above.  Please take a moment to look at these three shots: taken at sunrise, midday and early evening.  The natural poetry and true beauty of the Palermo that was a wealthy, noble, dynamic city that we read about in history books lies here for me.  To move around the city, I highly recommend hiring a personal guide or traveling with locals who can direct you properly.  The city is enormous, more and more international, and to move about on your own, you may miss the most important sites and significance of this intricate, complex, exuberant city.   Palermitani are highly devoted to Santa Rosalia, Patron Saint of the city, very noble in character and appearance, generous, warm and sunny, truly theatrical.  The same goes for its most prominent mercati:  Vucciria and Ballaro’.   Your experience here will truly be theatrical:  you may taste panelle {chickpea snacks topped with lemon drops or parsley}, be lulled and amazed at the colorful interactions among fruit and vegetable vendors as they chant back and forth, completing each other’s sentences, and most certainly ending with a smile.  If you have traveled to Northern Africa or the Middle East, you will feel as though you have reached a Kasbah-style market, you will be inebriated by scents, colors, a real ultra sensorial experience.  In fact, you may even feel dizzy.  Beware of this.  Three other must stops for me are {you know by now that no travel for me is complete without some culinary exploration}:  Antica Focacceria di San Francesco in the true heart of the city for a taste of arancini classici e alternativi {traditional and alternative Sicilian rice balls} , if you are brave {I’m not, I’ll say it now} you may try Palermo’s famed “panino ca’ meusa”  {spleen sandwich}.  No visit to Palermo for me is complete without visiting an incredible friend and mentor, one of Sicily’s most renowned Puppeteer and his family, Mimmo Cuticchio.  I stop at his theatre and laboratory, catch up on the latest news, and see my friends {“I Pupi“/The Puppets} who kept me company for two full years during graduate school as I filmed and completed a Documentary on Sicilian Puppet Theatre and Identity {now archived at the Museo Internazionale delle Marionette in Palermo as well as the Library of Congress in Washington DC}.  Lastly, I take a peak at Teatro Massimo – appearing at the beginning of the same alley where Mimmo’s laboratory is – Via Bara All’Olivella.  Then, I take a stroll by Il Porto di Palermo {The port} for us Mediterranean Sea lovers, it is a beautiful one and salute Palermo with a smile.

Palermo skyline at sunrise  ....  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Palermo skyline at sunrise …. {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Palermo skyline at midday.....{Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Palermo skyline at midday…..{Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Palermo skyline at night ....{Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Palermo skyline at night ….{Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Teatro Massimo, Palermo  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Teatro Massimo, Palermo {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

 

Laboratorio teatrale di Pupi di Mimmo Cuticchio/Mimmo Cuticchio's Theatre Laboratory in Palermo   {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Laboratorio teatrale di Pupi di Mimmo Cuticchio/Mimmo Cuticchio’s Theatre Laboratory in Palermo {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Pupi Siciliani/Sicilian Puppets by Mimmo Cuticchio in Palermo  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Pupi Siciliani/Sicilian Puppets by Mimmo Cuticchio in Palermo {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Cavaliere Normanno/Norman Chevalier - Sicilian Puppet  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Cavaliere Normanno/Norman Chevalier – Sicilian Puppet {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Principessa Orientale/Oriental Princess - Sicilian Puppet  {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

Principessa Orientale/Oriental Princess – Sicilian Puppet {Copyright Francesca Mignosa}

 

 

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