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Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Palermo

Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti - Palermo, Italy
Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti
Via dei Benedettini 3, Palermo, Italy 90134Map
+39 091 651 5019
Neighborhood: Palazzo Reale/Monte di Pietà

Palermo wouldn’t be the same without this typically Arabic-Norman church with its five little red domes standing against a sky which is nearly always blue. Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti (St. John of the Hermits) was built in the 12th Century at the bequest of the Norman King Roger II, who employed skilled Arabian craftsmen. It is fascinating with its precise geometry and polished shapes upon which the intense light of south plays charmingly. The light seeps through the open-work gratings of the little ogive windows (unfortunately, only one is still the original) and bestows the nude interiors with a charge of spirituality. The crux commissa (Tau or St. Anthony’s Cross) building design consists of five parts, each one changing from spherical to cubed, symbolic shapes represented in islamic culture: the earth and the vault of heaven. On the left wing of the transept stands the belfry, looking as if it were a minaret with its ogive windows framed by large triple splays. On its left side, the church is linked to an ancient building dating back to the 10th Century, where some remains of medieval paintings are preserved. One can’t miss the peaceful 12th-century cloister, with point archways and graceful twin columns.

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Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti General Information
  • Type: Religious
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