San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi Church

Palermo, Italy

San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi is an ancient church in Palermo. While built by the Norman rulers, the architecture has strong Arabic influences. The builders may have been Fatimid architects. The church in 1119 was attached to a leprosarium, hence the title. The church was dedicated to St John the Baptist. The adjacent hospital no longer exists.

The church was initially commissioned in 1071 by Robert Guiscard and Roger I of Sicily. Tradition holds the besieging Norman Army had camped near this site, near an Arabic castle, and here erected a temporary shrine, which later became the site of the church. The leprosarium was putatively built because Roger II's brother died of Leprosy. Over the years, the hospital and church was under the control of various religious orders, including the Teutonic knights.

The church, which had become a house, underwent dramatic restoration from 1920 to 1934. Centuries of accretions were removed. Some of the internal columns have capitals decorated with Kufic script.



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Founded: 1071
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Giuseppe D'angelo (14 months ago)
It is my parish led by a very helpful young priest. The church is fascinating, even if it is not rich in decorations, to visit. A beautiful choir animates the religious services
Vincenzo Lo Coco (16 months ago)
That magical and unique taste of a place where history and Christianity marry in a unique and magical bond full of enormous respect for the number of characters who rest here an eternal sleep. To visit absolutely.
Leo Umberto (22 months ago)
Very beautiful and particular for its shape and construction of Arab Norman origin. It is located in the southern area of ​​Palermo, a suburb not frequented by tourists, about two kilometers from the central station. It is not included in any Operetor tour strategic plan, so it has little visibility. Sin
Nicolò NR (22 months ago)
The church was built on the ruins of the castle of Yahya (Giovanni in Arabic) of the Saracen era in 1071, during the reconquest by the Normans, at the hands of the troops of Roberto il Guiscardo and Ruggero I of Sicily. The building is located a short distance from the Oreto river, a town in the Arab era covered by a lush date tree, a few decades later Giorgio d'Antiochia built the so-called Admiral's Bridge to climb over the waterway and therefore allow access and transit of the goods. RuggeroII endowed the church with farmhouses, goods and privileges, prerogatives confirmed by his son Guglielmo. The latter had the lepers housed in the structures of the church of San Leonardo transferred there, a place of worship documented on the area of ​​the current convent of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor, already used for the hospitalization and assistance of lepers. Hence the name of San Giovanni de 'Lebbrosi. Like if you like. THANK YOU
Edo Gualandi (2 years ago)
Very nice church at the entrance of Brancaccio neighborhood
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