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Chiesa di Santa Maria dello Spasimo, Palermo
(4.5/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web)
Santa Maria dello Spasimo, or Lo Spasimo, is an unfinished Catholic church in the Kalsa neighborhood in Palermo, Sicily, on Via dello Spasimo.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.SourcesPenny, Nicholas, National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings, Volume I, 2004, National Gallery Publications Ltd, ISBN 1-85709-908-7 Bellafiore, Giuseppe. Palermo: guida della città e dei dintorni. Palermo, 1990. (reprinted several times) De Seta, Cesare. Palermo città d'arte: Guida illustrata ai monumenti di Palermo e Monreale. Kalós. Palermo, 2009. (pp. 222–223) La Fisca, Anna Maria and Giovanni Palazzo. Santa Maria dello Spasimo. Edizioni Guida. Palermo, 1997.
To visit Chiesa di Santa Maria dello Spasimo on your trip to Palermo, use our Palermo family vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I discovered this year, in October, during the event "the ways of treasures". I turned the old Kalsa district Palermo walk and I found myself in front of the monumental complex of santa maria dello spasimo Church. I was totally unprepared to suggestion that a little later, coming within a yard semi abandoned, he'd kidnapped her deeply. A church that was not a church, uncovered in addition and with an unlikely tree grown inside, was the discovery of more intense and engaging the latest trips. Now I get informed about its troubled history and see that place of worship it never was: hospital and hospital, barracks and storage, even theater. A work never completed but still authentic symbol of the city of Palermo.
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  • a tree that stands at the bottom of the courtyard and the blue sky of palermo. a void filled with meaning.
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  • A visit to the city of Palermo foresaw an activity for children organized by ways of treasures ... excellent initiative of municipality/region of Sicily. Volunteers as well as professional skills have been able to entertain nicely children allowing us to visit this beautiful church and listen to an interesting Guide: not to be missed!
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Google
  • A beautiful unfinished church... Impressive.
  • That's a Gothic church without roof transformed into an en plain air theater: that's create a very strange and pleasant atmosphere.
  • Unfinished church. Very intimate atmosphere.
  • The complex of "Yelp" is worth a visit. La Kalsa district, one of the most characteristic and is one of the most interesting buildings of the magnificent city of Palermo. The visit is free and the evening often (in summer) are organized concerts or films.
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  • Beautiful. A Gothic rising "open sky". At night should be a spectacle: within these walls of the fifteenth century, and the naturalistic scene that embraces him.
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