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Chiesa di Santa Maria dello Spasimo, Palermo

4.6
#14 of 52 in Historic Sites in Palermo
Religious Site Church
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.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
254 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • It is a church without covering (a similar case in sant'antimo) from the story very economic meltdown and articulate. It is also in the neighborhood of Kalsa near via Glassware (see my review) and this is further reason for interest (admission is free).
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  • We had talked about, but seeing it is something else! Reminded me of San Galgano, but while in Tuscany the Church ceiling collapsed in Palermo the Church was never finished; very helpful staff, admission is free also provides a brochure with the story of the monumental complex. We know that in other season is used for concerts and plays, but we loved the silence ...
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  • I recently visited this beautiful place ... from the outside do not expect such beauty and charm. This church homeless, used variously over time due to many historical vicissitudes, has lived many lives and personalities to prove now what it's a place to give room to emotions, limitless, able to interpret the art and give free rein to beauty without invading with his presence, but offering a frame important yet unobtrusive.
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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.
  • Unfinished Catholic Church
  • wow

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