San Cataldo (Palermo)


San Cataldo, Palermo

Next to La Martorana is The Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo), an example of the wonderful Arabian-Norman architecture. San Cataldo is one of the sites in Palermo inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was founded by William I's chancellor, Maio of Bari c. 1160. In that year, Maio was assassinated with the result that San Cataldo's interior never was decorated. After 1787 the church served as a post office (!), and later it was restored (in 1885).

On 10 November 1160, a Palermitan gang, acting at the behest of Matthew Bonellus, stabbed Maio of Bari to death in the street. After Maio’s murder, Bonellus fled to Caccamo, but later returned to Palermo. The king had then pressed Bonellus for a substantial inheritance payment, which was said to have prompted him to instigate the rebellion of April 1161.

Metcalfe, Alex. Muslims of Medieval Italy (The New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys) . Edinburgh University Press. Kindle Edition.


(Source: Metcalfe, Alex. Muslims of Medieval Italy (The New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys) . Edinburgh University Press. Kindle Edition.)


San Cataldo, Palermo

Easter procession passing San Cataldo.



San Cataldo, Palermo

San Cataldo seen from the Tourist Information.



San Cataldo interior

The interior of San Cataldo.



San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo)

Detail of The Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo).



San Cataldo, Palermo

The interior of San Cataldo was never finished, but is still intriguing.



Capital in San Cataldo, Palermo

One of the surviving capitals in San Cataldo.






UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy) - new on the list (2015)

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).


Norman Cathedrals


Palermo (main page)

The Abatellis Museum, Palermo

Palermo Cathedral

The Church of the Gesù (Casa professa)

Fontana Pretoria

La Cuba

La Zisa

La Martorana

The Monreale Cathedral

The Monreale Cloister

The Museum of the Inquisition

Norman Palace

Cappella Palatina

Orto Botanico

Ponte dell’Ammiraglio

Quattro Canti

San Cataldo

San Giovanni dei Lebbrosi

San Giovanni degli Eremiti

Santa Maria della Catena

Santa Maria dello Spasimo

Street art

Bagheria: Villa Palagonia






Genoa-Palermo ferry instructions

If you are heading for Sicily coming from the north, you may want to take the GNV ferry from Genoa (Genova) to Palermo. It departs late in the evening and arrives in Palermo the following evening.

Here is how you find the GNV ferry in Genoa by car:

  • take the motorway exit Genova Ovest
  • keep left and follow directions for "Porto - Terminal Traghetti"
  • Then turn right down the helicoidal road which comes to the end at a set of traffic lights.
  • Go straight on and after about 100 m. take the underpass to enter the Port and perform check-in operations.

The address for the navigation system is "Ponte Assereto".

GNV = Grandi Navi Veloci. Here is the Homepage: