Palermo’s (In)famous Fountain

This (in)famous fountain that dominates Palermo’s Piazza Pretoria was originally designed and constructed in 1554-55 by Florentine sculptor Francesco Camilliani for the garden of a Tuscan villa. Purchased and augmented by the city of Palermo in 1573, government officials placed it in front of the Palazzo Pretorio, the city’s principal municipal building, with pride. However, its nude gods, goddesses, and nymphs shocked conservative Palermitani and the cloisterd nuns in the convent of la Chiesa di Santa Caterina that faces the piazza, who deemed the landmark the “Fontana della Vergogna,” or “Fountain of Shame.”

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