Historical Religious Buildings (Self Guided), Palermo

Religion has always played an important role in the lives of the Italian people. Thus, it is little wonder that the great city of Palermo features a plethora of churches, cathedrals, and temples. Here is the first part of Palermo's religious buildings walking tour.
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Historical Religious Buildings Map

Guide Name: Historical Religious Buildings
Guide Location: Italy » Palermo (See other walking tours in Palermo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Author: Lilly
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cathedral of Palermo
  • Chiesa del Gesù (Jesus Church)
  • San Cataldo Church
  • La Martorana (Martorana Chapel)
  • Santa Caterina Church
  • Church of Saint Anne 'della Misericordia
  • San Francesco d'Assisi Convent
  • Chiesa San Domenico (San Domenico Church)
  • Saints Peter and Paul Church
  • Chiesa Anglicana (Anglican Church)
Cathedral of Palermo

1) Cathedral of Palermo (must see)

The Cathedral of Palermo is an architectural complex, characterized by the presence of different styles, due to a long history of additions, alterations and restorations, the last of which occurred in the 18th century. The church was erected in 1185 by Walter Ophamil (or Walter of the Mill), the Anglo-Norman archbishop of Palermo and King William II's minister, on the area of an earlier Byzantine basilica. The upper orders of the corner towers were built between the 14th and the 15th centuries, while in the early Renaissance period the southern porch was added.

The present neoclassical appearance dates from the work carried out over the two decades 1781 to 1801, and supervised by Ferdinando Fuga. The main façade of the church is on the Western side, on the current Via Bonello, and has the appearance set in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is flanked by two towers and has a Gothic portal surmounted by a niche with a precious 15th century Madonna. The interior has a Latin cross plan, with a nave and two aisles divided by pilasters. In the first two chapels of the right aisle are the tomb of emperors and royal figures moved here in the 18th century from their original sites. The Sacrament chapel, at the end of the left aisles, is decorated with precious stones and lapislazuli. To the right, in the presbytery, is the chapel of Saint Rosalia, patron of Palermo, closed by a richly ornamental bronze gate, with relics and a 17th century silver urn which is object of particular devotion.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Chiesa del Gesù (Jesus Church)

2) Chiesa del Gesù (Jesus Church) (must see)

The Church of the Gesu, or Casa Professa, is one of the most important Baroque churches in Palermo and the interior of Sicily. The Jesuits arrive in Palermo in 1549 and in the late 16th century began building a church adjacent to their mother house, to plans by the Jesuit architect Giovanni Tristano. At first it was formed of a single nave with large transepts and several side chapels but at the start of the 17th century, to make the church more grandiose as was typical of Jesuit architecture, Natale Masuccio revised the plan by removing the chapels' dividing walls to add two side naves to the central one. The church was finally dedicated in 1636.

During the Second World War a bomb fell on the church's dome, causing it to collapse, taking with it most of the surrounding walls and most of the wall paintings in the chancel and transepts. These frescoes were replaced during two years' restoration work, after which the church reopened on 24 February 2009 with a solemn mass presided over by Paolo Romeo, archbishop of Palermo, and attended by several Jesuits and civil and military officials.
Sight description based on wikipedia
San Cataldo Church

3) San Cataldo Church

San Cataldo is a church linked to the Santa Maria dell' Ammiraglio church. It was founded in 1160 and is a bright example of Norman architecture. It served as a post office during the 18th century, but now it is restored and ready for religious service.
La Martorana (Martorana Chapel)

4) La Martorana (Martorana Chapel) (must see)

La Martorana or Santa Maria dell' Ammiraglio is a chapel located in Piazza Bellini. It was built in 1143 and is known for its amazing gold Byzantium mosaics. This is probably one of the most beautiful churches in Palermo, having an exterior that displays Norman architecture, Gothic towers and Baroque facades.
Santa Caterina Church

5) Santa Caterina Church

Chiesa Santa Caterina (Santa Caterina Church) was erected by the Dominican sisters in the year of 1566. The building use to serve as a monastery in the 14th century. Its inner ornamentation dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The Chiesa Santa Caterina features a unique style of Baroque architecture, evident due to its combination of texture, sculptures, mixed marble, stucco, and frescoes.
Church of Saint Anne 'della Misericordia

6) Church of Saint Anne 'della Misericordia

Chiesa di Sant'Anna la Misericordia (Church of Saint Anne 'della Misericordia) was designed by Mariano Smiriglio and erected in a late Renaissance style (built in 1639). Unfortunately, the church was severely damaged by an earthquake in the year 1726. The facade has since been renovated by architect Giovanni Biagio Amico.
San Francesco d'Assisi Convent

7) San Francesco d'Assisi Convent

Convento di San Francesco d'Assisi (San Francesco d'Assisi Convent) is one of the few remaining buildings from the Renaissance era. The church has undergone several improvements over the centuries and was also severely damaged on multiple occasions. Despite the restoration, Convento di San Francesco d'Assisi still maintains its simple facade and beautiful Gothic portal.
Chiesa San Domenico (San Domenico Church)

8) Chiesa San Domenico (San Domenico Church)

The Church of San Domenico is the second most important church in Palermo after the Cathedral. The church is located in a square of the same name in the old district of La Loggia. The church was built in 1458 and incorporates baroque style characteristics.
Saints Peter and Paul Church

9) Saints Peter and Paul Church

Santi Pietro e Paolo (Saints Peter and Paul Church) is a terrific Renaissance church designed by the skilled Italian architects - Giacomo Serpotta and Domenico Castelli. The architects also created the wonderful stuccoes on the inside.
Chiesa Anglicana (Anglican Church)

10) Chiesa Anglicana (Anglican Church)

The Chiesa Anglicana was built in 1872, during the British Protectorate. The church was designed by Mr. William Barber, but all the expenses were covered by 2 wealthy families – the Inghams and the Whitakers. In 1875 the Chiesa was opened for worship. During the World War II, the Anglican Church was used by the U.S. Forces.

Walking Tours in Palermo, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Palermo

Create Your Own Walk in Palermo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Palermo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Palermo Introduction Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles