Piazza Pretoria

Piazza Pretoria, Palermo: Address, Piazza Pretoria Reviews: 4.5/5

Piazza Pretoria
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks
About
This grand square features a splendid fountain, erected during the heyday of the Spanish Inquisition, which features sixteen statues that are nudes of nymphs, humans, mermaids and satyrs; truly a surprise that this type of art was permitted during that dark time in history.
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The area
Neighbourhood: Palazzo Reale
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4.5
1,023 reviews
Excellent
559
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389
Average
65
Poor
3
Terrible
7

phat_dawg_21
Alpharetta, GA11,459 contributions
Historic Piazza
May 2021
This square, just a few meters from Quatro Conti, is in the center of the old city. It is in front of Palazzo Pretorio, which is the City Hall, and is bounded by two additional palaces and a church.

Because of the fountain in the middle, it is locally called "Piazza della Vergogna" which is the Square of Shame.
Written 30 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mairwen1
United Kingdom4,784 contributions
Scandal, Nudity and the Fountain of Shame
Feb 2020
The star attraction of the piazza is the wonderfully named, Fountain of Shame.
Built in the 1500s as an extravagant feature for a nobleman’s garden in Florence, it features racy marble sculptures of naked gods and goddesses, mermen, sirens and tritons.
After the nobleman’s death, it was brought to Palermo in 644 pieces and re-assembled here.
Remarkably, someone decided that the best spot for the newly acquired fountain was right outside the windows of the Santa Caterina Church and Convent. This was always going to cause problems (surely, they could have predicted that).
The nuns were appalled but rather than cower behind their windows, they took matters into their own hands and went out to throw clothing over the statues. They weren’t alone in the outrage. The general population was also dismayed and regarded the fountain as scandalous and immoral, hence the nickname.
The fountain is fenced off and we couldn't see any signs for opening hours but the gate was open when we passed by in the morning and we could walk around both tiers of the fountain. It’s free to enter.
The piazza is ringed by several significant buildings. These are:
i) the Town Hall – It’s the one with the flags and the marble eagle just below the central balcony. It was built in the mid-1400s and has had several additions and changes over the centuries.
ii) Palazzo Bonocore – a 16th century building with 3 large arched doorways and open to the public
iii) Palazzo Bordonaro – this has sadly fallen into disrepair and is quite derelict
iv) Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini with the colourful yellow & green dome
v) Church of Santa Caterina - Dominican nuns lived and worked here from 1311 to 2014. The bakery is still there.

NEARBY – From the fountain, we went along the narrow passageway beside the town hall to Piazza Bellini to look at the 3 churches of Santa Caterina, Martorana and San Cataldo. In the other direction, it is only 2 minutes away from Quattro Canti.
Written 28 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Sal F
Brussels, Belgium254 contributions
Stunning
Sep 2020 • Family
Beautiful views with a lot of history in the heart of the city. They’ve also recently opened the fountain for you to stroll around
Written 26 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Israel R
Ra'anana, Israel16,126 contributions
A stunning square which is actually the home of the "Fountain of Sin".
Jul 2019
Piazza Pretoria is a beautiful square surrounded by fine buildings including several churches. The main attraction of the square is the Amazimg fountain located in the piazza's center.
In the past the fountain was named "Fountain of Sin" because of all the nudged characters that appears in it.
Written 22 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jazzumbo
Romania1,377 contributions
Square that host the Fountain of Shame
Jun 2020
Located next to Quatro Canti, the Pretoria Square is the place where Fontana della Vergogna (Fountain of Shame) is located.
Some of the buildings around the fountain are sadly neglected, yet the fountain has been recently renovated and looks amazing.
I'm trying to figure out the reaction of the people of Palermo in 1581 when this fountain, delivered from Florence, was completed and displayed to public. They were probably too shocked by the nudity of the statues if they called such beauty The Fountain of Shame.
The story of the fountain is as interesting as the fountain itself.
A must view while in Palermo.
Written 7 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ryszard L
Sydney, Australia326 contributions
Not your usual piazza
May 2019
The Sicilians do things differently and this piazza is, somehow, emblematic of the difference between Sicilians and the peninsula. In stark contrast to the dominant Norman/Arab architecture, this piazza is dominated by the Mannerist Fontana della Vergogna (Fountain of Shame), so named because of all the nude statues. It was made in Florence in 1554 for a Spanish nobleman, Don Luigi Toledo who happened to be Duke Cosimo de Medici's father-in-law. Don Luigi wanted to tart up his villa in Florence with a fountain. Unfortunately, he died before it was finished and his son, who was in debt, put it up for sale. The Senate of Palermo bought it and it was cut up into 644 pieces, transported to Palermo and put back together in its current location. It is now one of the landmarks of Palermo. Despite the couple of ramshackle buildings facing the piazza, it is quite an interesting place to pause and watch the people go by. The piazza is enclosed by Palazzo Pretorio, the seat of the Palermo Council, the church of Santa Caterina d'Alessandria, via Maqueda and the church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini, palazzo Bonocore and Palazzo Bordonaro. It's not far from the centre of the city, Quattro Canti and it's accessible from via Vittorio Emanuele by a large stairway.
Written 30 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Silvia D
4 contributions
Historical and contemporary
Jan 2020
The story of the Piazza is a metaphore of the culture of Palermo and Sicily. On the front of the Municipal building we enjoyed the most important events of the history of Sicily through the plaques of remembrace
Written 19 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MarcusHurley
Bristol, UK7,500 contributions
OK but the statues are pretty poor
Nov 2019
We walked across to the Pretoria Fountain which was very pretty although the square itself was run down with derelict buildings and graffiti. We had some great views of the fountain from Saint Catherine of Alexandria Monastery but up close the statues don't really have the same natural poses as the ones in Florence - I know this fountain was originally built for a Florentine noble and was sold to Palermo when he couldn't pay up but I really didn't think it was worth the price.
Anyway, it's nice to look around although you can't sit on the fountain itself but my recommendation would be to visit the monastery and look at it from up there.
Written 13 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Oliver S
New York City, NY11,034 contributions
Forget about Shameful, it's Claustrophobic!
Oct 2019
You'll find the Piazza and the famous Fontana di Vergogna (Fountain of Shame) at the end of a narrow passage. The place is very depressing – surrounded by tall buildings that look threatening down on you and make you feel like you lack air. Foolishly designed close to a convent with naked statues, later even more foolishly covered up, this place is very depressing and I suggest skipping it.
Written 11 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

gabriel19820331
Budapest, Hungary29 contributions
Nice square in the heart of the city
Nov 2019 • Friends
Easy to find it. Nice square but buildings should be renovated around. Good to visit together with other sights in the neighborhood.
Written 10 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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