Palermo is sumptuous and obscene. Palermo like New Delhi, where the fabulous palaces of the Maharajas lay next to the bodies of the dying pariah. Palermo like Cairo, where putrid hieroglyphs of shacks lay next to forests of skyscrapers and gardens.
Palermo is like all the capitals of those people who never managed to be a nation. In Palermo, the corruption is physical, tangible and aesthetic: It’s a beautiful woman, rotten by bad moods, with black fingernails, but also so mysteriously beautiful. Palermo is Sicily’s history, cowardice and heroism, despair, fury, defeats, rebellions. Palermo is also Spain, the Moors, the Swabians, the Arabs, the Normans, the Angevins: No other city is as Sicilian as Palermo, but Sicilians don’t love it. (more…)