A recent trip to Italy – our honeymoon, in fact – brought us on a whim to Palermo, the ancient capital of Sicily, whose deeply layered history can be read through stone, chipped paint, Arab-influenced mosaic, stunningly lush greenery. The city has a subtle, almost sensual sense of magic, but much of it is hidden from the visitor. With a tortured history of conquest and colonization (some even consider the modern Italian state to be an outside ruler) the city is suspicious by nature, and while I’ve made a habit of intruding innocently on any open courtyard I find in Italian cities, we found most Palermitano doors closed to us.
Still, those portals are beautiful and romantic, and here I share them with you. Romantic, elaborate, sultry and dramatic, here are the guardians of a Palermo that opens only to those whom they call their own.