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A cultural itinerary in Arab-Norman Palermo through four masterpieces kept in the popular Kalsa neighborhood, a few steps from the Bastione Spasimo.

Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden of the University of Palermo is one of the most important Italian academic institutions. Considered a huge open-air plant museum, the peculiarity of this Botanical Garden is represented today by the great variety of plant species hosted, over 3500, many originating from tropical and subtropical regions, which make it a place rich in expressions of different flora. In front of the entrance gate there is respectively the central building in neoclassical style of the Gymnasium, which was originally the headquarters of the Schola Regia Botanice, the Calidarium and the Tepidarium because they originally housed plants from warm and temperate climates respectively. In 1787 Goethe, traveling to Palermo, visited the botanical garden and gave an enchanting description of it, given its naturalistic interests. The Ficus macrophylla f. columnaris of the Botanical Garden is an extraordinary monumental individual from a biological, landscape, historical, cultural point of view and for the considerable dimensions it has reached. Due to its shape and overall size, the Ficus of the Botanical Garden can be considered the tree with the largest foliage in Europe.

Statue of the Genius of Palermo

On the island with a thousand-year history, where countless civilizations and cultures have followed one another, the "Genius" protects and tells the story of a welcoming and cosmopolitan city, Palermo. The "Genius", with its melancholic shadow side that expresses it, becomes the irresolvable mystery that, never tired, the citizens of Palermo have always continued to question, in a journey between sacred and profane that pervades the representation of the history of the city of Palermo, in whose representation the "Genius", as a profane patron deity, is joined by Santa Rosalia (patron saint of the city) co-managing the protection of the city.

The Winter Garden, among the 10 most beautiful greenhouses in Europe

The oldest of them and also the largest (500 square meters) is the Winter Garden or "Serra Carolina", built around the mid-19th century. This greenhouse hosts very unique and valuable open-ground collections, a total of 56 individuals from 19 families and 46 species. Among these are found Coffea arabica, Strophantus expirens, Pimenta acris, Mimosa polycarpa var. spegazzinii, Pavetta indica and Malpighia fucata.

The Basilica of the Holy Trinity of the Chancellor

It has a simple but fascinating exterior, just like the Baroque period portal that opens onto the tree-lined entrance avenue. The interior of the basilica is known for its columns with sculpted capitals. Outside there is the very romantic Cloister, what remains of the 22nd century Cistercian monastery. The Basilica more commonly known as Basilica Della Magione is one of the oldest churches in the city of Palermo, located near the Kalsa district. Built in 1150 (11th century) by Matteo d'Aiello, chancellor of the last Norman king Tancred I, it is one of the rare examples of Norman architecture in Sicily.

White Oratory at Kalsa

The Oratorio dei Bianchi, the name by which the Oratory of the Noble, Primary and Royal Company of the Blessed Sacrament is known, is one of the most precious jewels of the Kalsa district of Palermo. Founded in the 16th century by the company of the same name, it was nicknamed "dei Bianchi" due to the ceremonial dress worn by the ecclesiastics and gentlemen who were part of it.
They had the role of bringing comfort and support to those condemned to death in the days before their execution, spreading the word of God and inviting them to repentance and confession. The oldest testimony is constituted by the Islamic wooden door "Bab el Fotik", through which, in 1071, the Normans entered with Robert Guiscard during the capture of Palermo. To celebrate the reconquest of the city, the Grand Count Roger had the gate preserved and renamed it Porta della Vittoria, having a representation of the "Madonna della Vittoria" painted over it.

Statues belonging to both the original oratory and other churches in Palermo are now displayed on the ground floor. Among these also the stucco decorations of two altars created by Giacomo Serpotta between 1703 and 1704 for the church of the Convent of the Stigmata, subsequently demolished in the 19th century for the construction of the Teatro Massimo.

In the fifteenth century the Church of Victory was built on this structure and subsequently, in the 16th century, the Oratory was built above this. After a terrible fire, the Oratory was completely rebuilt and during the following century enriched with precious paintings, sculptures and furnishings.

The sumptuous "Fumagalli Hall", originally intended for meetings of the brothers, entirely frescoed in trompe l'oeil by Gaspare Fumagalli who signed it in 1776.

Jung Park - Tribute to Falcone and Borsellino

With the redevelopment of the Jung Park and the forthcoming opening of the Museum of the Present, the Falcone Foundation establishes, after decades of promoting the culture of legality throughout Italy, a physical place in the heart of Palermo a few steps from that Piazza Magione where Giovanni Falcone was born and Paolo Borsellino. In common thread between a historical place of the memory of Palermo and an exemplary garden with lush greenery, stands a centuries-old specimen of Ficus magnolia, in the heart of the popular historic district of Kalsa.