Santo Spirito Church

Palermo, Italy

The church of the Holy Spirit located within the boundaries of Sant'Orsola cemetery. The Cistercian monastery was founded between 1173 and 1178 by the archbishop of Palermo, Walter of the Mill, and was entrusted to monks of the calabrese Abbey of Sambucina. Considerable donations of King William II of Sicily and his mother, Margaret, enriched the monastery's property.

On March 30, 1282, it was in front of this church that the popular insurrection, later named the Sicilian Vespers, exploded.



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Founded: 1173
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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Urdom “Urdom69” 69 (3 months ago)
The Church of Santo Spirito or dei Vespri is very old: it was built in 1178 at the behest of Archbishop Gualtiero Offamilio, the same one who soon after had the cathedral of Palermo built. The church - which is now seen isolated - was part of a monastery entrusted to the Cistercian monks. Nothing is left of the monastery. It was destroyed over the centuries while the church itself was marred by buildings that have nothing to do with the original construction. Until in 1795 the area was entrusted to the Compagnia di Sant’Orsola to build the cemetery. In addition to being a great example of Norman architecture, the Church is known for being the theater of the "Sicilian Vespers", the famous popular revolt that broke out in Palermo in 1282. In Sicily, from 1266, the Angevins, a French dynasty that had taken over to the Swabians after the defeat of Manfredi di Svevia by Charles of Anjou. The French soldiers, at the evening hour of March 31, 1282, caused offense to a woman who had just married and was just leaving that church. This was the cause that triggered the popular revolt against the Angevins that resulted in a war that lasted twenty years. The Sicilians were helped by Peter III of Aragon. In 1302, with the peace of Caltabellotta, Sicily passed from the Angevin to the Aragonese domination. The episode of the Sicilian Vespers acquired the symbolic meaning, in the view of the Risorgimento, of revolt against the foreigner. The Angevins were French and it should be remembered that Italy, still in the nineteenth century, was divided into many states and statarelli that were dominated by foreign dynasties or powers: the Bourbons in the south, the Austrians in the Lombardy-Veneto region, and so on. Therefore, the unity of Italy was to be pursued by affirming the interests of Italians against those of foreigners. In 1882, in the sixth centenary of the Sicilian Vespers, the emotional wave led to the determination to restore the complex to its original conditions. The architect Giuseppe Patricolo took care of it and led the work. In the end, of the whole complex, only the church freed from all buildings could be recovered. Exactly what we see now, with small additions, such as the large central rose window which is quite recent. The exterior shows the simple but elegant style of Norman churches with chiaroscuro decorations obtained by alternating lava stone and tuffaceous stone, contamination between the Arab-Norman and Gothic styles. The interior has the structure of a basilica with three naves, with tuff columns on which ogival arches open, simple and bare, but with such a charm as to make everything that composes it beautiful. Above the arch of the main apse, you can finally admire a beautiful wooden crucifix dating back to the first half of the 15th century.
Giuseppe Riela (7 months ago)
Famous church, from this church, the famous Sicilian Vespers broke out
Roberta Morana (15 months ago)
Church located inside the cemetery of Sant'Orsola, in Palermo. It is an 11th century church, built by the archbishop of Palermo. It went down in history for the famous event of the Sicilian Vespers, which occurred on Tuesday 30 March 1282. The cemetery dates back to 1782. Planimetry: 3 naves, 3 apses, quadrangular presbytery. The interior is rather small. He would need restoration work in some small parts of the Church. It is not very frequented by tourists, but above all by local people. The interior is simple, bare, typical medieval. Too bad that, as a church, it is not very well known. I think it should be a little more protected and preserved. Because it is beautiful, and deserves a little more consideration.
Oleg Naumov (16 months ago)
The birth place of MAFIA, Church of Santo Spirito or Church Dei Vespri. It was built in 1173 by Archbishop of Palermo Walter Ophamil also known as Walter of Mill, during the rule of King William II of Sicily and Naples and etc. and etc. (ruled in 1166-1189). Here on March 29, 1282 on the eve of the Easter, French officials of King Charles I of Sicily and Naples from French Anjou dinasty decided to join the service and celebration. French sergeant, whose name was Druet, started advances and molestations toward married woman. Her husband killed Druet with the knive. Other French tried to punish the killer but locals attacked and killed all French. Bells ringed and messangers were sent to Palermo. As the result about twelve thousand French were killed in Sicily within six weeks. Sicilians used the motto "Morte Alla Francese, Italia Anelia!" or "Death to the French is Italy's Cry", otherwise MAFIA. That event well known to historians as the Sicilian Vesper. Open daily from 09:00 through 12:00 hours. Admission is free but any donation is welcomed and highly appreciated. Visitors are allowed to take non commercial photo without flash light and tripod.
Claudio Marino (21 months ago)
The Norman Church of S. Spirito is located inside the Sant'Orsola cemetery. It was founded by the Archbishop Gualtiero Offamilio, under the reign of William II, in 1178 and later entrusted to the Cistercian monks. The exterior of the Church presents the polychrome combinations, obtained from tuff and lava, which soberly alternate and crown the building of charm and beauty, a contamination between the Arab-Norman and Gothic styles.
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