Palermo – Day 2 – Part 1 – Fontana Pretoria and More

Close to our apartment, in the Piazzetta Garraffo, you will find the sculpture known as the Genio del Garraffo, or Palermo lu Grandi.  This statue is the emblem of the city.  The statue symbolizes the genius loci, the metamorphosis of the animal spirit into man.  This is one of the seven representations of the Genio found in the city.

In 1554, the Fontana Pretoria was designed and built by Francesco Camilliani for the city of Florence.  In 1574, it was instead sent to Palermo in 644 pieces.  In order to make room for the fountain, buildings were demolished.  Camillo Camilliani, son of Francesco, was in charge of assembling the pieces, once they arrived in the Sicilian city.  This was finished in 1581.  At the time of the fountains’ unveiling, it caused quite a stir amongst the locals, who were at first put off and offended by the nudity portrayed in the statuary.  The piazza even took on the nickname of the “Piazza della Vergogna,” or the “Square of Shame.”  Over time, though, the people grew to accept, and even became fond of the fountain.  Today, it is one of the symbols of the city of Palermo, and draws a large number of tourists, who are there to see the very statues that once caused such an uproar.

The Palazzo Pretorio, also known as the Palazzo delle Aquile, or the Palace of the Eagles, is basically the town hall of the city of Palermo.  It houses the office of the mayor of the city, as well as other municipal offices.  The building dates from 1463, and was constructed by Giacomo Benfante.  In 1873, it underwent a renovation under the direction of the architect, Giuseppe Damiani Almeyda, and so, it assumed the appearance it has today.


Next up: We continue exploring, and have lunch at one of the many stalls that make up the Ballarò Market!


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!


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