Palermo – Day 1 – Part 2 -A Walk to Piazza Giulio Cesare

After Palermo, our plan was to take a train to Agrigento, which would be our second destination in Sicily.  Even though we were not traveling for a few days, I am the type pf person who simply feels better knowing that things are all in order, and so, as our first outing in Palermo, we decided to make our way over to the train station, where we would purchase our tickets for the next leg of our adventure.  Immediately to the left, as we stepped outside of our building, there were the remains of the Chiesa di Santa Sofia dei Tavernieri.  The church, obviously no longer functioning, dates from 1589.  Abandoned in 1939, the structure suffered further damage in 1943, when it was hit by a bomb, which completely destroyed the interior space.  Today, all that is left are the walls, and even these are being held up by scaffolding, which you can see through the windows above the portal.

The Stazione Centrale, or the Central Station, is located in Piazza Giulio Cesare.  Opened in 1886, it was designed by the architect, Di Giovanni.  While the structure looks very large from the piazza, once inside, the ticket office is right there, and within ten minutes, we were back out, with tickets for Agrigento in hand.

The train station has a small chapel inside, near the ticket office.  I had never seen that before in any of the other cities we had visited.

Outside the station, in the center of the piazza, there is a green area, in the middle of which stands an equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II.  The bronze statue was erected in 1886, and was sculpted by Benedetto Civiletti.  The base of the statue is made entirely of marble from Carrara, and is the work of the artist, Salvatore Valenti.

The Porta di Vicari, also known as the Porta di Sant’Antonio, is one of the oldest gates in the city.  The gate, as we see it today, dates from 1600.  It takes its name from the then praetor of the city, Francesco del Bosco, who was the Count of Vicari.  In 1789, the arch that once connected the two sides of the gate was demolished, and the fountains were added.

At the south end of the piazza, you will find the Università degli Studi di Palermo, which was founded in 1806.  Former professors here include Sergio Mattarella, the president of Italy, as well as Emilio Segrè, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959.

Nearby, you will find the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio di Padova, which dates from 1630.

The Cappella del Santissimo Crocifisso, or the Chapel of the Most Holy Crucifix, was carved by the friar, Umile da Petralia, and the ornate wooden altar functions as his tomb.


Next up: We continue to explore Palermo, plus a visit to the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio Abate!


Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear.  If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Palermo, as well as other Italian destinations.  Grazie!


Leave a Reply