The Mushroom Palace
Taking a stroll through Palermo along the wide promenade beside the sea, I found a striking building that immediately caught my attention. It was sunset, and I found myself facing a landscaped piazza full of parked cars with a beautiful gazebo to one side. Beside it was a group of older men, standing to play cards. As I walked forward, I came up to the gates of the Palazzo Forcella of Seta, an old building with arched windows and a lovely eastern air. In fact, this was the Al-Khalisa, the centre of the city during the ninth century when Palermo was under Arabic control. I later heard that this was a restoration, after the original was bombed during the Second World War.