Preserving Palermo

IMG_1939

In Palermo, Sicily

On June 2nd, we walked through the streets of the Loggia (or Castellammare) neighborhood in Palermo, where we saw the relics of buildings destroyed during World War II. We discussed the values of preserving the ruined buildings, as they are a representation of the history and culture of Palermo before the war. Because of their fragility, we should protect them in order to pay due respect to the dignity of this city.

–Text by Zhuoyang Ye

Cattedrale2_DebbieCifuentes

Not all of Palermo remains damaged– above, see the beautiful Palermo Cathedral, a stunning amalgamation of Norman, Moorish, Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture!

Read more about the Allied Invasion of Sicily, from the World War II Museum:

Sicily was a natural route to mainland Italy and the European continent going back in history to the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome. The Allies could count on air cover from Malta for a Sicilian invasion. In an elaborate espionage operation known as Mincemeat, designed to divert German defenses, British intelligence dressed a suicide victim as a Royal Marine, planted false papers on the corpse, and deposited the package off the coast of Spain for the Germans to find and interpret. The ruse proved successful, and German resources were shifted to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica.

On July 10, 1943, the Allies launched Operation Husky before sunrise, a massive amphibious assault on the southern shores of [Sicily]. For the next three days it involved more than 3,000 ships landing over 150,000 ground troops, covered by more than 4,000 aircraft. They were opposed on the island by only two German divisions, as Nazi leadership continued to believe the main assault would come at Sardinia and Corsica.

In 38 days, the Allies had taken the first major step along that continental road with the liberation of Sicily. The effort cost approximately 24,850 American, British, and Canadian casualties. Although there would be further twists and turns in the liberation of the Italian nation, through Sicily the Allies had successfully delivered a devastating blow against the first fascist government in world history when the toppled Mussolini’s regime.

 

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