My group arrived safely in Palermo, Sicily this afternoon, all in apparent good health, and all of our luggage also!
Our actual touring of archaeological and biblical sites begins tomorrow. On our way to our hotel our tour host pointed out the Giovanni Falcone Monument on the A29 Coastal Highway, at the location where Falcone was assassinated, and gave us some interesting information.
Here is a photo I took from inside the bus while we made a quick stop.
Wikipedia has this info:
Giovanni Falcone, 18 May 1939 – 23 May 1992) was an Italian judge and prosecuting magistrate. From his office in the Palace of Justice in Palermo (Sicily), he spent most of his professional life trying to overthrow the power of the Sicilian Mafia. After a long and distinguished career, culminating in the famous Maxi Trial in 1986-1987, he was killed by the Corleonesi Mafia in May 1992, on the A29 motorway near the town of Capaci.
His life parallels that of his close friend Paolo Borsellino. They both spent their early years in the same neighbourhood in Palermo. And though many of their childhood friends grew up in the Mafia background, both men fought on the other side of the war as prosecuting magistrates. They were both killed in 1992, a few months apart. In recognition of their tireless effort and sacrifice during the anti-mafia trials, they were both awarded the Italian “Medaglia d’oro al valore civile” (Gold medal for civil valor). They were also named as heroes of the last 60 years in the November 13, 2006, issue of Time Magazine.
We will plan to post more as we have opportunity along our tour.