Quattro Canti


Officially titled Piazza Vigliena, the elegant intersection of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda is better known as the Quattro Canti. Marking the epicentre of the old city, the junction is framed by a perfect circle of curvilinear facades that disappear up to the blue vault of the sky in a clever display of perspective. Each facade lights up in turn throughout the course of the day, landing it the nickname Il Teatro del Sole (Theatre of the Sun).

Echoing the style of late-Renaissance Rome and constructed in the early 17th century, the Quattro Canti's four symmetrical facades are the work of royal architect Giulio Lasso. Each corner is divided in three classical orders: Doric at the bottom, Ionic in the middle and Composite at the top. The decorative elements were left in the capable hands of architect Mariano Smiriglio, whose other projects in town include the baroque reworking of the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Valverde. Statues adorn each of the three tiers, representing the seasons at the bottom, Spanish sovereigns in the middle, and female Palermitan saints at the top.

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