Sicily

Day 3 - Palermo, the Baroque Churches


These churches date from the rebuilding of the city in the C16th and C17th


The CHURCH OF ST DOMINIC is the second most important church in Palermo after the cathedral and contains the tombs of many important Sicilian politicians, painters and poets. Although there has been a church and monastery here since the C13th, the present building is C16th, when the old building became too small. Like the Cathedral, the outside is more impressive than the inside with its double pillars and statues.

Church of St Dominic, Palermo

A row of columns separates the nave from the side aisles with their small altars.

Church of St Dominic, Palermo

Church of St Dominic, Palermo

A small doorway in the north wall leads through into the Cloisters. There is a charge to enter these, collected by a monk guarding the entrance.

Church of St Dominic, Palermo

On a small side street behind St Dominicís is the ORATORIO DEL ROSARIO DI SAN DOMINICO which was founded at the end of the C16th by the Knights of Malta and is still maintained by them. The outside is very uninspiring but the inside contains some of the best Baroque work in Palermo, however it did little for me. Again there is a charge to enter.
 
Oratorio del Rosario de San Dominico, Palermo 

The black and white marble floor sets off the white walls with their statues of the Christian virtues,  modelled on fashionable society ladies, by Giacomo Serpotta, interspersed by paintings representing the mysteries of the Rosary.

Oratorio del Rosario de San Dominico, Palermo

Above the altar is the Madonna of the Rosary with St Dominic and the Patronesses of Palermo painted in 1628 by van Dyke. In the centre of the ceiling is a painting depicting the Coronation of the Virgin.

Oratorio del Rosario de San Dominico, Palermo  Oratorio del Rosario de San Dominico, Palermo

The CHURCH OF ST MARY OF GESU is one of the most important Baroque churches in Palermo. Tucked away in the network of narrow streets and alleyways between Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda, it is well worth finding. It was the first church to be built in Sicily by the Jesuits and dates from the late C16th. The glorious C17th Baroque interior has been magnificently restored after bomb damage in the Second World War, which destroyed the dome, surrounding walls and the paintings in the chancel and transepts.

Unlike the Cathedral and St Dominicoís the facade is relatively plain.  Above the doorway is a statue of the Virgin and Child. On either side are statues of St Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, founding members of the Society of Jesus. At the top is the emblem of the Jesuits.

Church of St mary of Gesu, Palermo

Every surface of the inside is covered with marble, stucco reliefs and paintings. It is glorious.

Church of St mary of Gesu, Palermo

Church of St mary of Gesu, Palermo  Church of St mary of Gesu, Palermo

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