Palermo dall'alto

Monumental complex of Santa Chiara - Tower of San Nicoḷ di Bari all'Albergheria - Church of Carmine Maggiore, Oratory of Carminello



 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. 


The market of Ballarò is the heart of Albergheria district. Walking across the alleys of the market, you will find many shops of master craftsmen, carriers of many traditions, gastronomic secrets and kaleidoscopic colors of the Arab souks. The itinerary continues inside the monumental complex of Santa Chiara, built as a convent in the fourteenth century, and reconfigured over the centuries. In the complex, traces of history and art, such as a large piece of the Punic walls inside the Salesian theatre, dating from between the fifth and sixth century B.C., evidence of the stratified ancient Panormus. 
The church of San Nicolò all'Albergheria is the oldest parish in the district, located in the upper part of  Ballarò square. Climbing the Tower of San Nicolò, you will discover the most beautiful panorama of the old city from above: it is a place where the majesty of the past and the vehemence of today come together beautifully! Crossing the market, we reach Piazza Carmine, a large irregular square, dominated by the great dome, symbol of the magnificent baroque church and the annexed convent of the church of Carmine Maggiore. The 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. 

Price pp: (MIN 2 PAX): 2pax €60, 3-5 pax €40, 6-9 pax €30, 10-20 pax €20, >20 pax €15


Cultural guided tours (Monumental complex of Santa Chiara - Tower of San Nicoḷ di Bari all'Albergheria - Church of Carmine Maggiore, Oratory of Carminello)
Duration: 3 - Rates: 60


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