Arab-Norman Itinerary of Palermo, the 13 new sites added

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In addition to the 9 sites currently recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the Arab-Norman Route of Palermo and its province also includes 13 sites that have not yet been included in the official UNESCO list but which, due to their great historical and cultural interest, deserve to be part of the World Heritage Site.

  1. The Qanat

The Qanat are small masterpieces of hydraulic engineering dating back to the times of the Arab domination of Palermo. Through a complex game of slopes, these narrow underground tunnels had the task of transporting water from the springs to the gardens and sollazzi of the city. After a thousand years, the water in the Qanat continues to flow and these routes can be visited.

  1. The Castle of Maredolce

The Castle of Maredolce, or della Favara, is one of the ancient sollazzi of Palermo dating back to the period of Arab domination. In addition to the vast palace with adjoining chapel (formerly the private mosque of the Emir), the complex also included a large navigable lake with a lush garden in the center located on an island.

A real jewel that can still be visited today.

  1. The church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi

The church of San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi is a small church in Palermo dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Its curious name derives from an ancient leprosarium once annexed to the structure of the church, of which no trace remains today. Built near an old Arab castle, San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi is perhaps the oldest Latin church in the city.

  1. The church of Santa Maria Maddalena

The church of Santa Maria Maddalena is one of the oldest churches in Palermo. Contemporary with more famous buildings such as the Cathedral of Monreale, the Cathedral of Palermo and the Palatine Chapel, this church located near Porta Nuova was later incorporated into the military district of San Giacomo (or the Spanish), now home to the Command Legion Carabinieri Sicily.
It can be visited on Sunday morning after the celebration of Mass.

  1. The church of the Magione

The church of the Holy Trinity, commonly known as Magione, was founded by Matteo d’Aiello at the end of the 12th century, probably on the structure of an ancient mosque. The work of the Arab workers is evident in many of the details that characterize it, although over the years the original structure has been modified several times.

  1. The Cuba

Located within what was once the extensive hunting park of the Norman kings called the ” Genoard ” (paradise of the earth), the Cuba is a sumptuous Arab-style building built by William II, “The Good”. Like the Zisa Castle, this building was also a sollazzo surrounded by lush gardens and a large fishpond.

  1. The Cuba Soprana and the Cubula

Also located in the large park of the “Genoard”, which extended almost to the borders of Monreale, the Cuba Soprana was another beautiful palace of pleasures belonged to the Norman kings, now unfortunately no longer existing, as it was incorporated into the more “modern” Villa Napoli. The large garden that surrounded it was adorned with rich fountains and statues by Giacomo Gagini. Not far away, in the gardens of the villa, stands the so-called Cubula, a small structure where it was possible to find refreshment.

  1. The chapel of Santa Maria dell’Incoronata

The chapel of Santa Maria dell’Incoronata is an Arab-Norman style building located near the Cathedral of Palermo. Together with the Cathedral, this chapel represented a fundamental point of interest in the coronation ceremonies of the Norman kings, which from its monumental loggia, appeared for the first time to greet the people.

  1. Palazzo dell’Uscibene

The Palazzo dell’Uscibene, sometimes improperly called castle, is another of the summer residences built during the Norman domination in Palermo. Due to the strong remodeling and the prolonged state of abandonment, the palace would need careful restoration to enhance the original appearance.

To date, the complex is difficult to visit because many of its remains have been incorporated by the modern buildings of private villas.

  1. The church of Santo Spirito

The church of Santo Spirito, also known as the church of Vespers, is now incorporated into the Cemetery of Sant’Orsola in Palermo. In addition to its wonderful structure, this church is known for being the starting point of the Sicilian Vespers, the great revolt that led to the expulsion of the Angevins from Sicily. A real jewel seen by many Palermo residents but probably unknown to most for the sober beauty that characterizes it.

  1. The church of Santa Cristina la Vetere

Small Arab-Norman jewel, the church of Santa Cristina la Vetere is a little known building located near the Cathedral of Palermo. The foundation of the structure is due to Archbishop Gualterio Offamilio between 1171 and 1174, when work began on the new Cathedral, it was necessary to find a place for the relics of St. Catherine, the ancient protectress of Palermo, already located in the old cathedral. Given its humble and inconspicuous nature, this church is perhaps the one that has kept its original style the most. Despite its sober and austere style, the church preserves splendid paintings and decorative elements inside.

  1. The fortifications of the Castello a Mare

The Castello a Mare (Sea Castle) is one of the most emblematic historical monuments of Palermo. Located at the entrance of the old port of Cala, this “lower fortress” (in relation to the royal palace called “upper fortress”) dates back to the twelfth century, when it was probably built, and played the fundamental role of sentinel of the city and then prison. From the unification of Italy onwards, the ancient building was gradually demolished, leaving only the keep and the ancient entrance door.

  1. The baths of Cefalà Diana

The baths of Cefalà Diana are ancient baths built by Arab workers, presumably during the Norman domination. Thanks to the skill of Arab engineers, the pools of this magnificent building were full of hot sulphurous waters that were channelled by an underground fault, now back on its ancient course.

 

 

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Un gruppo di persone accomunate dalla passione per la Sicilia, ma sopratutto per Palermo, con la sua storia millenaria, la sua cultura unica e le sue molte, moltissime sfaccettature.

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