Anthropology professor Carlo Di Franco leads me through the Ballaro` street market, his favorite place -- on our way to the church of Il Carmine in the Albergheria quarter of Palermo. Professor Di Franco, who teaches a class in symbols in architecture at the University of Palermo's architecture faculty, is the founder of La Palermo Dei Misteri, a non-profit group that in all months but the summer follows Dr. Di Franco on twice-monthly themed walking tours of Palermo. Huge throngs of 70-80 people trail him through Europe's most expansive historic center to hear him make the stones speak. He's a mensch, an affable guy. I joined his group as soon as I learned of it, and when he heard I was only there for a few months, he took me on private tours of some of the places I might miss, treating me as a guest and serving up the inner city on a plate for me. Literally. The first thing he did was buy me street food, some nice hot greasy pannelle made with chickpea flour, then lunch in the market, then cannoli at the most rigorously Palermitan place that makes them, then we made it to the Carmine church. That's another video.
Here is Prof. Di Franco's website for the culture-vulture group La Palermo Dei Misteri: http://lapademi.altervista.org/