by FdS Editorial Staff
Throughout the month of October 2014 both Palermitans and tourists will have the rare opportunity to discover a very unique Palermo. During all four weekends of October (Friday 3, Saturday 4, Sunday 5; Friday 10, Saturday 11, Sunday 12, Friday 17, Saturday 18, Sunday 19, Friday 24, Saturday 25, Sunday 26). The city will be the star of the “Le Vie dei Tesori” Festival (“The Streets of Treasures Festival”), opening her doors to aristocratic palaces, multiethnic neighborhoods, the city underground and to her complex history. There will be many tailor-made itineraries to discover Palermo’s “treasures,” many of which were unknown.
The Festival, spread out over 60 locations across the city and beyond, is offering 100 events (conferences, encounters with artists and experts; shows, concerts, etc.), including trips to the Madonie Mountains and the region of Belice. This Festival is the result of a synergistic relationship between public and private sector institutions that have created a network of thirty institutions and associations here in the Palermo. Some of the participating institutions are the University of Palermo, with its wealthy, heritage palace-compound, historic gardens and science museums; the Diocese of Palermo, with its beautiful churches and crypts; the Port Authority of Palermo, with its docks, antique stores and the Castello a Mare, and its defense garrison which was recently rescued from abandonment and ruin; and of course, the City of Palermo, with her monuments. All these treasures will be accessible to the public through guided tours which will take place from 10 am to 6 pm and can all be enjoyed by purchasing a book of 10 tickets for 10 euros (2 euros for entrance to a single event). For visitors, this is a unique opportunity to experience an “open city” in every sense of the word, through a series of itineraries tailored to individual tourists, families, children and the disabled. A Palermo that will be fed by the richness of its places; its literary and historical glories as well as by thematic gatherings and theatrical performances taking place within its treasures.
The 8th Annual “Le Vie dei Tesori/The Streets of Treasures” Festival will revolve around five main themes directly related to open spaces for the event:
a) HERESY, addressed in all its facets from religion to the economy through music and social engagement; a theme that unites several places, including the prisons of the Spanish Inquisition in the Steri, unique in the world as the only building that has been preserved and restored. Inside, the walls completely-covered with the writings of prisoners, victims of religious and political oppression reveal the life of the tortured. This prison was in use in Palermo for three centuries, from the late fifteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century, and is considered by some to be where and how the mafia was created.
b) THE UNDERGROUND CITY, through an evocative route through several thousand years of history, from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo to the Qanat, underground aquaducts and caves that bring fresh water to Palermo from the hills of Monreale and many crypts.
c) THE SEA, returned to center stage with the recent opening in Palermo of the EcoMuseo di Palermo telling of the ancient relationship between the people and their city of “all ports” (“Panormos”, Palermo’s name in Greek means ” all-ports “). The Docks have now bear witness to a new relationship between the city and its coastline;
d) THE RUINS, seventy years after the bombings of the Second World War, the theme of reconstruction fuels the current debate on the future of the old market Vucciria and the city.
e) INTERCULTURALITY, one of the fundamental traits of the identity of Palermo, there are many squares and neighborhoods with dynamic multiethnic flavors continue the vibrant intersection of Palermos history of Moorish, African and Norman roots.
Among the places that will be open for this 2014 Cultural event:
– “The Steri,” a 15th century Palace with its famous 216 square meters high ceiling and a small annex church Sant’Antonio Abate. Here the prisons of the Spanish Inquisition with graffiti drawn by prisoners can also be viewed.
– “The Catacombs of the Capuchins,” with their new discoveries
– “The Crypt of the Repented” in the convent of courtesans converted to monastic life
– “The Catacombs of Porta d’Ossuna” a refuge of the early Christians
– The Crypts of several churches in Palermo that are usually closed (i.e., The Oratories of “del Carminello,” “San Matteo al Cassaro,” “Death to Orsola,” ” Lanza di Trabia San Mamiliano,” and the crypts of “Cocchieri alla Kalsa” and “Santa Maria di Piedigrotta”)
– “The Qanat” underground aqueducts invented by the Arabs
– “The Chapel of Carpenters! in the Theatines Monastery
– “The Giuseppe Pitrè Ethnographic Museum”
– Historical records of the City
– The Library of “Casa Professa” Church (newly renovated)
– “The Monastery of Santa Maria di Gesù,” where St. Benedict the Moor lived, the holy Black Saint revered around the world
– “Massimo” and “Biondo” Theaters.
– The second sites of the State Archives at Gancia, splendid monasteries recently restored (Catena and Gancia)
– “The Vincenzo Bellini Music Conservatory”
– “The Academy of Fine Arts”
– The churches of “San Nicolò” and “Santa Chiara,” two hidden gems of the Albergheria neigborhood
– Collections Basil Ducrot at the “Faculty of Architecture”
– The Botanical Garden, one of the oldest in Europe
– “Gemmellaro,” the Geological Museum, for lovers of science.
– A series of exceptional oratorical societies usually closed to the public: “Santissimi Pietro e Paolo,” “Santa Caterina,” “The Ladies Oratory”, and the “Immacolatella del Carminello.”
– Several caves and natural cavities will also be available for visiting.
All these places will be both open to the public and integrated into a rich program of urban walks.
In 2013, the event attracted more than 60,000 participants.
Reservations aty the call center will begin September 26 (091. 23,893,000, every day from 10 AM to 18 PM).
THE MAIN LOCATION OF FESTIVAL