Palermo Urban Development


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Urban Developement of Palermo

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Palermo Urban Development

  2. 2.  Palermo has a very important and surely the largest old towncentre (historic town centre) in Europe. In the old centre we can find traces of the Punic-Romancivilization, a series of prestigious monuments stylisticallyrelated to the Arabic and Byzantine cultures, great monumentalbuildings from the 14th to the 16th centuries, baroque churches,monasteries and palaces with decorative masterpieces inside. Near the historical centre, from the end of the 19th century up tothe early decade of the 20th century, many buildings were builtin what is known as “Liberty Style”M.Bellanti2013
  3. 3. Greeks and PhoeniciansThe Greek colony of Panormushad two nuclei: the Paleapolis("ancient city"), between the tworivers Kemonia and Papirethos,and the Neapolis ("new city").In 734 BC Phoenicians fromTyre (Lebanon) established aflourishing merchant colony inthe Palermo area. Therelationship of the new citywith the Siculi, the peopleliving in the Eastern part of theIsland involved both commerceand war.Papireto riverKemonia riverPaleapolisNeapolisBetween the 8th and the 7thcenturies BC, the Greekscolonized Sicily. They called thecity Panormus ("All port") andtraded with the Carthaginians,Phoenician descendants. Thetwo civilizations lived togetherin Sicily until the Romanconquest.HarbourM.Bellanti2013
  4. 4. Roman agePanormus was a flourishing and beautiful city during the Golden Age of the Roman Republic and Empire.In Piazza Vittoria (“Victory’s Square”) notable palaces and mosaics have been discovered and a large theatrestill existed in the Norman age. According to geographer Strabo, during the Roman Empire it provided largeamounts of wheat for the capital.However, after the reign of Vespasian, it decayed, and in 445 was sacked by the King of African Vandal,Gaiseric. Later it was part of the territory of Odoacer and Theoderic’s Ostrogoths.M.Bellanti2013
  5. 5. Palermo under the Arabic influencePalermo was conquered in 831 by Arabs from North Africa andbecame the capital of the Arabic Emirate of Sicily until 1072, when itreturned under Christian rule, due largely to the efforts of RobertGuiscard and his army.For more than two hundred years, Palermo was the capital of aflourishing Islamic civilisation in Sicily. By 1050, Palermo had apopulation of 350,000, making it one of the largest towns in Europe,second only to Islamic Spanish capital Córdoba, which had apopulation of 450,000.Traces of the ancient Arabic domination can be still seen today.Muslim artifacts include the Kasr ("Castle"), on the cape of thePaleopolis, the district of the great mosque; the Kalsa ("Elected"): theemirs’ seat along the sea; the area of the Schiavoni ("slaves"), crossedby the Papireto river; and in the western region, the Moasker, thesoldiers quarter.However, the Arabic emirate became increasingly torn by innerdisputes and was a rather easy prey for the Normans, who hadentered Sicily in 1061. In 1072, after four years of siege, Palermo fell toCount Roger I of Sicily, putting an end to the Arabic presence inSicily.The CastleElectedArea ofthe “Slaves”M.Bellanti2013
  6. 6. The NormansFrom 1072 to 1195The Normans restoredChristianity as the officialreligion and declared Palermoto be the capital of the island.In 1130, Roger II was crownedKing of Sicily in Palermo.Although Christian, theNormans were tolerant towardsthe Muslim population, whichwas a majority in Palermo andthe main centers of the island.Jews also remained animportant community.However, many mosques wereturned into Christian churches.The high level of thismulticultural civilization can beseen by the splendour of thenew monuments that the newKing had built in Palermo.These buildings, which includethe church of the Marturanaand the Palatine Chapel, show afascinating mix of Arab,Byzantine and Italianinfluences.Our school …M.Bellanti2013
  7. 7. Swabian period and the House of AnjouThe state marriage between the emperor Henry VI and the last descendant of theNorman monarchs, Constance of Hauteville, gave the Kingdom of Sicily and Palermo tothe Hohenstaufen house of Germany. However, the noblemen refused to be ruled by aforeigner, and Henry had to fight a rival monarch, before conquering Palermo in 1194 andbeing crowned as King.The second ruler of the house of Swabia was the famous Frederick II, who spent his earlyyears in Palermo as a rogue. He probably considered himself as primarily a true Sicilianinstead of a German ruler. Under his reign Palermo became the effective capital of theHoly Roman Empire.In this period, Palermo’s court anticipated Renaissance courts and hosted some of thebetter intellectuals, artists and scholars of the period. The first Italian poetical school wasborn in Palermo.Frederick died in 1250 and was buried in the cathedral. His illegitimate son Manfredsucceeded him and continued his cultural and administrative politics. However, in 1268Manfred was defeated by Charles I of Anjou, and the Kingdom of Sicily passed to thisnew French house. Palermo suffered a period of decay as the capital was moved toNaples. Charles and his officials exploited Sicily heavily and the island rebelled in 1282(the Sicilian Vespers), giving itself to the Aragonese rulers.M.Bellanti2013
  8. 8. Palermo under AragonUnder the Aragonese, Palermo experiencedinternal struggles of noble families such as theVentimiglia, Aragona and Chiaramonte, whowanted to control over western Sicily. Thesumptuous Palazzo Steri and Palazzo Sclafani werebuilt under the Aragonese kings.In 1494, after the death of King Martin, Sicily wasannexed to Spain and Palermo became the seat of aviceroy. The Jews were expelled and the HolyInquisition increased its power over the city.Arts were still important with buildings like thechurch of San Giuseppe, the Spasimo theatre andthe Porta Nuova. However, heavy taxes wereimposed, to pay for this construction program.M.Bellanti2013
  9. 9. Baroque architecture in PalermoSicilian Baroque is recognizable not only by its typical Baroque curvesand flowers, but also by its grinning masks and putti and a particularflamboyance that has given Sicily a unique architectural identity.The earliest example of Baroque in Palermo is Giulio Lassos QuattroCanti, an octagonal piazza, or circus, constructed around 1610 at thecrossroads of the citys two principal streets. Around this intersectionare four open sides, being the streets, and four matching buildings withidentical canted corners. The sides of the four buildings are curved,further heightening the Baroque design of the buildings lining thecircus.The Baroque style is the mirror of noble families’ wealth and powerduring the Spanish domination, which lasted almost five centuries inSicily. Since the XVII century, in the center of Palermo center, there’sbeen a competition among the noble families and the religious ordersfor building the most beautiful and the richest churches and palaces.1600 – via MaquedaM.Bellanti2013
  10. 10. Plan of Palermo 1893The Belle Epoque, that period in Europebetween the end of the 19th century and thebeginning of the First world War, saw thedevelopment of the style that is generallyknown as Art Nouveau, but in Palermo iscalled ‘Liberty’.Here, two names are totally linked to theperiod: Basile and Florio.Ernesto Basile was the Sicilian architectresponsible for the most significant Libertystyle buildings in Palermo, including theVillino Florio.The Florio family, which came to Sicily fromCalabria at the end of the 18th century, had,by the time of the Belle Epoque, increasedtheir fortune. The time arrived for them tospend this fortune – and that they did itwith great style. Thanks to the Florios,during this period, Palermo became a centerrich and famous in all Europe.The Belle Epoque in PalermoM.Bellanti2013
  11. 11. P A L E R M O T O D A YM.Bellanti2013