The San Giovanni degli Eremiti Church in Palermo is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the best examples of the Arab-Norman architectural style in Sicily. The church’s most notable attractions are its five huge domes and the cloister that probably dates back to the 13th century.
San Giovanni degli Eremiti Church Palermo
Address, opening times and tickets
Address: Chiesa di San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Via Dei Benedettini – 90134 Palermo. Phone: +39 0916515019. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 09:00 to 19:00; Sundays and holidays, 09:00 to 13:30. Entrance fee: 6 Euros; combi-ticket San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Chiostro di Monreale, Zisa and Cuba 12 Euros; youths over 18 and 65+: free; first Sunday of the month: free.
History and description
The San Giovanni degli Eremiti Church is one of the most important medieval monuments in Palermo. Built in the Norman period, the church is considered one of the symbols of the city. Its construction lasted from 1130 to 1148. There used to be a monastery in the same site.
In 1882 werd de kerk door Giuseppe In 1882 the church was completely restored by Giuseppe Patricolo.
The exterior of the Chiesa di San Giovanni degli Eremiti is characterized by a cube shape with a dome above. This construction is repeated five times, twice in the nave and three times in the transept. The square shape is supposed to represent the earth and the spherical shape the sky. This was a common motif in both Islamic and Byzantine culture.
The interior decorations of the church are extremely sober. The single nave is intersected by a large pointed arch. A further pointed arch marks the separation from the transept.
There are three semi-circular apses. The middle one of the three is the only one that protrudes outside the church wall.
The cloister belonging to the church probably dates back to the 13th century. This chiostro is square in shape and is marked by semi-circular arches and double columns. It might have been part of a Benedictine convent.