How many churches in Sicily do you know? Maybe you visited the most famous cathedrals, those churches you easily find on the most popular guides. But there’s more and more. Let’s discover together some hidden jewels on the island, today we are in Palermo. Are you ready for a holy tour with Sicilian Secrets?
So many churches in Sicily! If you are planning (or dreaming!) your next trip to Palermo, it’s time to add something to your bucket list. Churches keeps secrets, curious stories and many treasures, some of them are rich of architectural gems. Let’s visit 5 churches in Sicily that will truly astonish you, first stop: Palermo!
Cappella delle Dame, Palermo
The Cappella delle Dame (Chapel of the Ladies) is a religious building in the heart of Palermo, pretty close to Casa Professa. It was built between the 16th and the 17th century when the secret congregation of Maria Santissima dell’Aspettazione del Parto della Vergine was founded. This association aimed to support poor women in labour who used to live in the area of Albergheria. If you look at the building from outside, you can see the beautiful baroque style that characterizes this church. Inside, don’t miss the garden with the floor tiled with majolica made in the 19th century and the precious room with paintings and suggestive trompe l’oeil effects.
Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio Martire all’Olivella, Palermo
Among the most interesting churches in Sicily, we have to mention the Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio Martire all’Olivella built between the 16th and the 17th century to celebrate the canonization of San Filippo Neri. The masterpiece of this church is the dome decorated by Venanzio Marvuglia, but the first thing will astonish you is the façade with two bell towers and two colonnades. Just a curiosity: inside this church you can find a painting portraying San Giovanni di Baciccio de Rosa depicted by Tiziano.
Chiesa di Sant’Euno e Giuliano, Palermo
This church – Chiesa di Sant’Euno e Giuliano – is pretty unknown and is located in Piazza Magione. It was built in the 17th century thanks to the initiative of the Confraternita dei Seggettieri, they were the manufacturers of the sedan chairs, the so-called ‘flying chairs’. This building was abandoned and partially destroyed in 1943 during the war, in 2017 it was finally restored trying to keep the original style both inside and outside. Baroque rules!
Chiesa di Santa Cristina La Vetere, Palermo
Churches in Sicily are hidden everywhere. Santa Cristina la Vetere is a Norman church located close to the cathedral in Cortile dei Pellegrini at Capo. This building dates back to the Middle Age and is dedicated to the ancient patron saint of the city, Santa Cristina. In the past, it hosted pilgrims and wayfarers and is considered one of the oldest churches in Palermo. It looks like a cube, nowadays you can go inside only through the door on the Southern side that was refurbished in the 16th century, the only façade that is still visible. It’s very peculiar, don’t miss it!
Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie, Palermo
The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is basically undiscovered even for people from Palermo! Everybody loves Cappella Palatina, the stunning chapel inside the Royal Palace…well, Santa Maria delle Grazie is the downstairs church of Cappella Palatina: surprise! It was built to keep the coffin of the King William I in 1166 but later was also used to bury some other outstanding people such as the viceroy Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy who died in 1624. The most incredible things are…secret! Enjoy.