Oratorio dei Bianchi


The 16th-century 'Oratory of the Whites' obtained its nickname from the white ceremonial gowns worn by its religious guild, whose members comforted prisoners in the three days prior to their execution. Today, it houses a 10th-century wooden gate from the Arab citadel that stood here, the very gate through which the Normans invaded and conquered Palermo. It also houses several beautiful stuccoes by master rococo sculptor Giacomo Serpotta.

Among them is the monumental Eterno Padre (Eternal Father) from the Chiesa delle Stimmate di San Francesco, demolished in 1875 to make way for the city's Teatro Massimo.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Palermo attractions

1. Pangrel Murals

0.05 MILES

What was once a row of dull apartment blocks is now a veritable open-air gallery, its trio of outstanding murals part of the Pangrel urban-renewal…

2. Galleria Regionale della Sicilia

0.08 MILES

Housed in the stately 15th-century Palazzo Abatellis, this art museum – widely regarded as Palermo's best – showcases works by Sicilian artists dating…

3. Museo dell'Inquisizione

0.16 MILES

Housed in the lower floors and basements of 14th-century Palazzo Chiaromonte Steri, this fascinating museum explores the legacy of the Inquisition in…

4. Giardino Garibaldi

0.19 MILES

Surrounded on all sides by elegant palazzi, gentrified Piazza Marina is Palermo's quietest piazza, and its small Giardino Garibaldi encloses Palermo's…

5. Orto Botanico


Laid out by Léon Dufourny and Venanzio Marvuglia, this raffish, subtropical paradise shelters massive fig trees, tall palms and dazzling hibiscus bushes,…

6. Palazzo Mirto


Just off Piazza Marina, this palazzo is one of the few in Palermo open to the public. Dating back to the 17th century, the building served as the Palermo…

7. Museo Internazionale delle Marionette

0.21 MILES

This whimsical museum houses around 4000 marionettes, puppets, glove puppets and shadow figures from Sicily and Naples, as well as from further-flung…

8. Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi

0.28 MILES

On a picture-perfect piazza, the much-amended Chiesa di San Francesco d'Assisi dates back to the 13th century. Remnants from its early history include the…