Cultural heritage: Arab-Norman route widens in Palermo

13 sites and monuments included in tour of nine locations

02 July, 13:06

    PALERMO - The Arab-Norman site will include more monuments than those already recognized by Unesco. Four years ago, nine sites had been recognized as having a cultural as well as a religious significance that had left behind a heritage of tolerance, participation of civil cohabitation. The nine sites that are already part of the itinerary - including, among others, Palazzo Reale, Cappella palatina, Zisa and the Cathedral of Palermo, Cefalù and Monreale - will be joined by 13 locations and monuments widening the touristic and cultural offer.

    A guide curated by the director of the Fondazione Unesco Sicilia, Aurelio Angelini, now includes the palace and park of Maredolce, the fortress of Castello a Mare, the small and austere church of Santa Maria Maddalena inside a Carabinieri police precinct. In addition, there will be the majestic SS.
    Trinità alla Magione, Cuba Soprana, the abandoned garden of Villa Napoli; Cubula; the chapel of Santa Maria dell'Incoronata behind the cathedral; San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi; the medieval churches of Santo Spirito and Santa Cristina la Vetere.
    The widened circuit also includes Qanat, a large engineering masterwork under the city from the Arab era and the baths of Cefalà Diana.
    ''These sites - said Angelini - were taken into consideration to become part of the Arab-Norman itinerary but it was not possible to include them for Unesco's recognition due to the difficulty of accessing them. With a few interventions, promoted and scheduled, it was possible to renovate them. We are now trying to promote their cultural and touristic vocation''.
    The project was supported by the Unesco site, chaired by Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando. ''Becoming part of the Unesco heritage - said Orlando - is not a tag to hang on a wall but a path for preservation, discovery and promotion of each monument and its context that talks about integration and tolerance''.
    The project to widen the itinerary will be presented on July 3 at Villa Niscemi of city hall, together with #Settembre Unesco, a program of events, guided tours, conferences and initiatives on September 13-26 that will be hosted in the 13 monuments that have become part of the new itinerary. On the agenda is a conference on the ancient Favara or Maredolce on September 14-15; and a video-mapping event on September 23-26.
    The program will wrap up with a White Night of Unesco monuments during the last weekend of September. 

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