Fontana Pretoria – In the Heart of Palermo
It is while strolling through the medieval passageways and hidden alleyways of Palermo, at the heart of Palermo’s loveliest square that you will come across the artistic treasure of Fontana Pretoria.
Flickr/Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
This delightful fountain in Piazza della Pretoria and it is believed to have been constructed by Francesco Camilliani in the middle of the sixteenth century in Florence. The structures though were disassembled and brought to the city of Palermo nearly three decades after their original construct. If you are looking for exhibits of Renaissance art, Fontana Pretoria Palermo would provide you with the perfect example.
When the Fontana Pretoria was first unveiled, the outcry was supposedly so loud that it could be heard from the farthest corners of the city. This was because the display consisted of a galore of nude figures, which by the way were actually intended to be displayed in the privacy of the Florentine villa and not a public space, and this is what led to the said outcry. (Talk about being broad minded!) However, with time the Palermitans did start to adorn a broader outlook but the fountains were cursed to be forever referred to as the Fontana della Vergogna or “Fountain of Shame”.
From the fountains, you will have a clear view of the exteriors of the two churches, in the piazza, S.Caterina and S. Giuseppe Dei Teatini. The fountains seem to hold all the information you need about Mount Olympus, with its decoration and depictions of allegories, nymphs, mythical creatures, animals, beautiful staircases and also gods and goddesses that were believed to reside in Mount Olympus. While passing through the ramp one can see the statue of Ceres, among the group of statuettes, guarding the ramp. Ceres was the classical Patroness of Sicily who carried the horn of plenty.
Palermo, the capital of Sicily located in Southern Italy, is blessed with a cultural heritage. The Cathedral of Palermo, located at the city centre, is fascinating in the way how Arab, Byzantine and Anglo Norman approaches to art had been combined to form such a beautiful structure. There is also the church of San Domenico with an impressive baroque structure. The interiors are mystified by archways and stone pillars that go well with the ornate exterior that is marked by tall palms. When you reach the true centre of the city, the Quattro Canti, you will see four identical building at each of the four corners, that is a must watch when visiting Palermo.