Fodor's Expert Review Museo Civico di Santo Spirito
Housed in a restored palace that originally belonged to the Chiaramonte, one of the most powerful noble families in Sicily, this museum's architecture is a wonderful testimony to Sicily's complex history, an appealing fusion of Romanesque, Byzantine, Norman, Gothic, and Spanish. Highlights are the Gothic chapterhouse and the old defensive tower; the holes in the faded Byzantine frescoes of saints were created by American soldiers billeted here during World War II, who needed pegs to hang their kits on. Best of all is the Ethnographic collection on the top floor. Formed entirely of bits and pieces donated by locals at the end of the 20th century, it offers fascinating and often funny insights into everyday life, with exhibits ranging from recipe books to an ammunition belt modified for school exams so that cheat notes could be rolled up and stored in the bullet pockets.