Si Trova: a Palermo
Lat: 38° 6' 51.41835" N - Long: 13° 22' 18.33153" E
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The Church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo was built from 1509 to 1515 by the Benedictine fathers in elegant late-Gothic forms.
It was financed by Giacomo Basilicò, jurisconsult of the time.
Along with the church, a monastery also had to be built, but the latter could not be completed due to threats from Turkish pirates.
In 1516 Basilicò commissioned to Raffaello a painting for the church to represent the "Andata al Calvario"; He turned out a masterpiece of inestimable value universally known as "Spasimo di Sicilia".
Basilicò also commissioned a marble altar to Antonello Gagini for a suitable arrangement of the painting.
This work was also admirable.
In 1569 the whole Spasimo complex was purchased by the Senate of Palermo; in 1661 the painting was sold to Philip IV of Spain and III of Sicily, who brought it in Spain, now it is still possible to admire it at the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
The altar was dismembered and relocated from other parts, until, at the end of the last century, it was found dismembered in about fifty pieces and brought back to spasm, where it still awaits the reconstruction.
After the transfer of the fathers, the whole complex of the spasm, never completed, was used as a public theater, as a lazaretto during the plague of 1624, and as a warehouse for cereals.
In the eighteenth century the vault collapsed and never was rebuilt.
From 1835 the Spasimo became a shelter for the poor, and later, in 1855, an hospital.
At the end of the second world war the church was used as a place of collection for the works of art coming from the various structures of Palermo damaged by bombing, later it was abandoned, until the 1988 restoration, which allowed it to be opened to the public in 1995.
Still today, near the church, there are fortifications of the mid-sixteenth century, modifications of the seventeenth century, with the transformation of the monumental complex into a lazaretto, and parts added at the end of the 1800s, when it became a hospital.
Today Spasimo is one of the most suggestive places in Palermo and in all over Sicily, used as a cultural space, theater, concert hall and meeting place; furthermore, it hosts a Jazz orchestra school.
Admission to Spasimo is free.
For info tel: 091 740 88 62
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