Palermo capuchin catacombs entry

We got caught by the spring weather today.

Monreale duomo from entrance down nave sunday service

And, we caught mass at the famous duomo (cathedral) at Monreale, outside of Palermo. The roof is so far above, it’s hard to fathom. Plus, the glow of the gold when they brought the lights up for mass almost took my breath away. Probably no one, perhaps intentionally, recorded how many laborers worked to build this building, begun in 1174. The local masses made a poor showing at today’s noon mass, and the priest criticized us tourists for showing up. We got that much from the Italian.

Monreale cathedral rear from cloister with tower cloud breaking up

Still, we did cough up 6 euros each to visit the cloister, which meant we got to walk all four sides of the huge courtyard. Very scenic, surely, but I also got a bit queasy thinking about the lives lost so this could be built and decorated. I didn’t have time to study the Byzantine mosaics, just caught their gleam, mostly.

So, we stopped at the first picture last (yes, they’re not in chronological order). I hesitate to mention that we descended through a side door to look at catacombs (called a necropolis here if it is Greek, Roman, or early Christian, but apparently not if it is more recent) with embalmed or otherwise preserved corpses of Capuchin monks and community notables dating to the 1800s (older ones were not on view). Exceedingly strange. Prominent signs read No Fotos and No Film, as well as Show Respect (approximately). One said No Flash; I guess they were relenting a bit. Strange, considering high windows were open to the rainy outdoors, although the rain didn’t come in, just the terrifically humid air.

Milling around before we left, we saw a bier being loaded into a van through a door next to the entry. I saw the shoes through the glass, so I know someone’s remains were, shall we say, going on tour.

The rain’s back, we have a good internet connection, and we’ve talked to some home-folks, and that’s all for now.

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