Santa Maria dello Spasimo

Palermo, Italy

Santa Maria dello Spasimo is an unfinished Catholic church in the Kalsa neighborhood in Palermo.

Construction of the church and accompanying monastery of the Olivetan Order began in 1509 with a papal bull from Julius II, on land bequeathed by Giacomo Basilicò, a lawyer and the widower of a rich noblewoman. The Spasimo or Swoon of the Virgin was a controversial idea in late medieval and Renaissance Catholic devotion. The church commissioned the painting by Raphael, Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary, or Lo Spasimo di Sicilia, as it is also known. This was completed in Rome in about 1514-165, but in 1622 the Spanish Viceroy of Naples twisted arms and obtained its sale to Philip IV of Spain, and it is now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

The church was never completed because of the rising Turkish threat in 1535, where resources meant for the church were diverted to fortifications of the city against any possible incursions. Even in its unfinished states, Lo Spasimo shows the late Gothic style architecture that permeated building practices in Palermo at the time as well as the Spanish influence in the city.

The church now hosts open air musical, theatrical and cultural events because of its lack of a roof.

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Details

Founded: 1509
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Robert Herzog (2 months ago)
It's a great historical site to explore if you have 20-30 min. There are restrooms , toilet paper was empty. No entrance fee, not much visitors. If you look for some nice ruins to visit it's a place to go. Also nice to practice juggling
Kuala Bound (10 months ago)
Founded in 1506, was abandoned in 1573, and had different uses in the times. It now host also jazz music festival.
Tangotails (13 months ago)
Looked like a nice place to see, but was closed when we got there at 15:00 / 3:00PM in Monday. So be sure to check the current seasonal schedule. Had to walk quite far to get there, and it is located in a nasty looking area. Dirty area. Would not want to be there after dark. Having said that, saw some nice murals on the walls by local artists, quite nice. The place also has hosted some famous musicians, and is also a music school.
Ralf Görlitz (14 months ago)
My favourite place in Palermo. I would love to see a concert in this church without a roof. Always a good place to find some quiet space in the turbulent parlermo.
Edo Gualandi (19 months ago)
Beautiful church... with something missing. This very charming place has a long history: it functioned as a monastery, as an hospital during the plague and as a cultural center in the modern days. Gather information weather is possible to attend a concert or a show there, is an amazing framework for act kind of cultural events
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