The San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi Church is one of the Arab-Norman style churches in Palermo. It is the oldest Norman construction in the city. The current appearance of the church is the result of a renovation in the 1920s.
San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi Church Palermo
Address, opening times and admission
Address: Chiesa di San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi, Via Salvatore Cappello, 38 – 90123 Palermo. Telephone: +39 091475024. Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday from 16.00 to 19.00; Sundays and bank holidays from 08.30 to 13.00. Entrance fee: Free of charge.
History and description
The San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi Church was built in 1071. It was the first Norman construction in Palermo. The name of the church (lebbrosi is Italian for ‘lepers’) is explained by a nearby hospital, where people suffering from this disease were nursed.
The church was completely rebuilt between 1919 and 1930. The spiral-shaped decorations on the facade were removed, as was the decorative plasterwork inside the church. The central bell tower was also removed.
The current version is much more sober, with simple stones. A new bell tower with a cupola was built at the entrance.
The interior of the San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi Church has three naves and a wooden ceiling. Pillars separate the naves from each other. The dome rests on eight arches. The apse is preceded by columns, one of which has an inscription in Kufic script.
There is a painted crucifix from the 15th century.