The astonishing Porta Nuova (New Gate), a building constructed in 1583, replaced the modest Porta del Sole and was modeled after one of the temporary triumphal arches erected in 1535 to celebrate the arrival in Palermo of King Charles V, victor against the Moors in the battle of Tunis. It stands between the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and the ancient town walls. Whereas the inner side of the door, overlooking the former Via Cassaro (nowadays Via Vittorio Emanuele), still shows the influence of Renaissance classicism, the external facade of the gate with its fancy ashlar patterns is one of the highest examples of Mannerism in Palermo. A wide arch is surrounded by four expressive Telamons with turbans and moustaches representing the Saracen prisoners. Bizarre masques with human and vegetable hybrid features complete the decoration of the first level, surmounted by an eagle, the coat of arms of Palermo, and by a classical open gallery. The gate was restored in the 17th Century by architect Gaspare Guercio, as it had been seriously damaged by a thunderbolt in 1669, and a beautiful pyramid covering was added, decorated with multicolored majolica tiles, featuring Palermo’s eagle.
Attractions & Landmarks
- Nearest Train: Metro A - Orleans (Piazza Indipendeza)