Palermo – Baroque architecture – a few more churches

In this post are some photos from the other Baroque churches I visited during my stay, in addition to the oratories and polychrome churches mentioned in my two previous posts. The first one, Chiesa di San Giuseppe dei Padre Teatini, is a must-see, if you can get in. You’ll find everywhere mentioned on my map.

Chiesa di San Giuseppe dei Padre Teatini (Church of Saint Joseph of the Theatine Fathers)

This church is on via Vittorio Emanuele, at the southwest corner of the Quattro Canti. The eastern wall of the nave faces the Fontana Pretoria, on the opposite side of the piazza from Santa Caterina (the marzipan monastery), from the roof terrace of which this photo was taken.

The striking green and yellow majolica-tiled dome can be seen from many angles at a distance but is best viewed close up from the Fontana Pretoria.

The church was built between 1612 and 1677 by Giacomo Besio, a Genoese member of the Theatine order. Again, the fairly plain exterior belies the stunning decoration within.

The three naves are divided by an avenue of Corinthian columns, made of grey Billiemi marble, which are up to 10m in height.

The frescoes and stucco work on the ceilings are simply stunning.

Please click on this gallery to fully appreciate the photos in full screen.

There is some nice polychrome marble decoration (see earlier post) in some of the side chapels.

Either side of the entrance are two stoups for Holy water supported by angels The one on the left is the work of Ignazio Marabitti (who also has work in Casa Professa above) and on the right is the work of his pupil Federico Siracusa.

Nearby on a pedestal is the Madonna of Oreto, a marble statue of the virgin and child by Domenico Gagini (of the famous local family of sculptors) at the end of the 15th century.

The church is rarely open, except for mass, so take the opportunity to have a look if you’re passing and happen to see the doors are unlocked.

I visited A LOT of churches in Palermo but there were still a few I didn’t get to see inside.

Chiesa di San Domenico in Piazza San Domenico has a classic Baroque facade. The church was constructed in 1640, to the design of architect Andrea Cirrincione, although the facade wasn’t added until 1726.

It contains the tombs of many noble Sicilians, including the former prime minister of Italy, Francesco Crispi. Most tourists however are drawn to the Serpotta stuccos in the church’s oratory, Oratorio del Rosario di San Domenico, around the back (see previous Serpotta post).

In front of the church is the Colonna dell’Immacolata, the Column of the Immaculate Conception, designed in Baroque style by Tommaso Maria Napoli in 1724.

Chiesa del Carmine Maggiore, over in the Ballaro market has a beautiful majolica dome (an Arabic influence) which dates from 1680. The pillars are decorated with four telemons depicting Moses, Elijah, Jonah and Saint John the Baptist.

For diehard Baroque church fans, there are three churches along along Via Torremuzza in the Kalsa district should be viewed. Santa Maria Della Pietà (pictured, famous for its facade), Santa Teresa alla Kalsa and San Mattia ai Crociferi, all dating from the end of the 1600s and early 1700s, were considered landmarks in Baroque design at the time they were built.

That’s enough Baroque for now. I’ve left all the palaces for next time. A bit of Neoclassical next…

Leave a Reply