The Church of Saint Mary of Pity (Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà) is a Baroque church localted in the quarter of the Kalsa, within the historic centre of Palermo.
In 1495 the noble Francesco Abatellis, captain at the service of King Ferdinand II of Aragon, in the absence of heirs, staged the construction of a Benedictine monastery under the name of Santa Maria della Pietà. In 1526 the monastery was founded, but contrary to the wishes of Abatellis the new female community of nuns adopted the Dominican rule.
The construction of the current church started in 1678. The architectural project was produced by Giacomo Amato, architect of the near Santa Teresa alla Kalsa too. The exterior of the church was completed in 1684, but the work continued internally. In 1723 The church was consecrated by the bishop of Patti Pietro Galletti, brother of the abbess of Santa Maria della Pietà Vincenza Maria Galletti.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.