Palermo baroque tour

Baroque Palermo tour: streets, Churches and Oratories

The Baroque Palermo tour is a guided walking tour that takes you to explore less beaten tracks.  If you are already familiar with the most famous sites in town, the Tour of the Baroque in Palermo will lead you to explore some stunning sites enjoying the beautiful traces of the Baroque era (17th and 18th century). Opulent decorations and splendid architectural works in Palermo, were expression of power and opulence. An uninterrupted mantle of decorations, stucco works and frescoes; precious treasures revealing their “vibrant soul”.

Thanks to the Baroque Palermo tour you will relive the constructive enthusiasm of the 17th century; streets and squares (Via Maqueda, i “Quattro Canti”), and the old Cassaro. The architectural and decorative “Baroque” style and its different forms, facades of the noble palaces, religious buildings (Churches and Oratories) generally speaking, the “city centre” committed to representation and appearance; a competition between aristocracy, religious orders and congregations.

Baroque tour Palermo: Baroque decorations

The building and embellishment of Churches played a primary role. Entering the Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, uncover the splendour and opulence of the ornamentation covering walls; the amazing flow of polychrome marble inlays, sculptural elements and frescoes.

Oratories held a very relevant role too. Venues used for worship and Confraternity meetings, they were annexed to prestigious Churches. No external signs of their internal use, the large rectangular hall concealed the pomp of decorations inside, reserved only for the brotherhood.

The Oratories indoor decoration is largely the work of Giacomo Serpotta, one of the greatest European sculptors (1656-1732), who chose “stucco” to express his art, achieving very original results.

Be enchanted by the dazzling white of the interior of San Lorenzo Oratory, one of Giacomo Serpotta’s masterpiece. On the wall the so called “Teatrini” (small theatres) representing the story of S. Lawrance’s life and S.Francis’s life enriched with allegoric female satues of “Virtues” and a multitude of putti that interact with the little theatres or are busy to play.

On the altar the replica of the lost Caravaggio masterpiece: the Nativity with Saints Lawrence and Francis of Assisi. Painted in 1609, the work was stolen between 17 and 18 October 1969 and since then, various theories have emerged about its fate. The painting, cut from its frame, is the subject of legends and controversial stories.

Meeting point

Piazza Giuseppe Verdi

Tour itinerary

Via Maqueda, “Quattro Canti”, Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria; San Lorenzo Oratory.

Tour duration

3 hours

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