Palermo Seen from Above
The market of Ballarò is the heart of Albergheria district. There, you will find some hidden jewels: the monumental complex of Santa Chiara, the Tower of San Nicolò, with the most beautiful panorama of the old city from above, and the church of Carmine Maggiore, which dome is the most beautiful of Palermo, visible from every part of the ancient city.
Inside, the church contains valuable works of art, ranging from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, including paintings by Pietro Novelli and Tommaso De Vigilia. The twisted columns, built in 1683 by Giacomo and Giuseppe Serpotta, are particularly fascinating and take inspiration from the famous baldachin by Bernini. The skill and graceful style of Serpotta takes the form of a golden mantle with decorative motifs, telling scenes of the Virgin and Jesus Christ. The oratory of Carminello was built at the end of 1500 with aristocratic funding and for centuries has been a chapel of the Carmelites. It was used as a cemetery for the confraternity until a century ago, as you can see from the crypt below. It contains some large stuccoes by Giacomo Serpotta ("The Nativity" and "The Repose in Egypt") as well as stuccoes by Giovanni Serpotta. The external compactness of the oratory, and the simplicity of the tuff stone facade, adorned by the sober frames of the windows and the portal, do not reveal the decorative richness of the interior.
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