Porta Nuova Palermo

The Porta Nuova is the western entrance gate into the city of Palermo. It is located next to the Palazzo dei Normanni at the beginning of the main street Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

Porta Nuova Palermo

Porta Nuova Palermo (exterior)

In 1460, north of the Palazzo dei Normanni a thoroughfare was opened. This entrance was called Porta dell’Aquila. The first real city gate was however built under viceroy Marcantonio Colonna. This gate, the end result of a project that had started in 1569, was completed around 1583. By then the occasion that caused the gate to be built, the victory of Charles V over the Turks in the Battle of Tunis in 1535, had been almost forgotten.

In 1669, two years after an explosion in a gun powder deposit inside the building had destroyed the original gate, Gaspare Guercio built the Porta Nuova as we can see it now.

His main change was the addition of the pyramid-shaped construction on top of the gate. The majolica’s decorating this part were made by Onofrio Cosentino. The big central eagle is the city symbol. The top level on both sides has a five arch loggia supporting the balustrade.

The facade on the city side has four alcoves containing marble busts representing Peace, Justice, Truth and Abundance. This part might have been designed by Giorgio Di Faccio, who is best known for the San Giorgio dei Genovesi Church, also in Palermo.

The other side is characterized by four telamons (sculptures of male figures used as columns). They represent the Moors taken prisoner by Charles V. Giuseppe Giacalone may have been the architect responsible for this side.

There used to be a hallway connecting the gate to the Royal Palace.

Porta Nuova, Palermo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *