Today I spent a glorious day in Palermo, which included a visit to Villa Giulia, a public garden that was commissioned in 1777 (More about that in a future post). In the midst of the park, I was so excited to see this version of The Genius of Palermo, the “Fontana del Genio a Villa Giulia.” This 18th century statue created by sculptor Ignazio Marabitti is one of eight representations of a crowned man with a snake feeding on his breast that can be found throughout Sicily’s capital city. The Genius of Palermo is an ancient icon — so ancient that the mythological pre-Roman origins of it are uncertain. Il Genio di Palermo is considered to be the secular protector of the city and its multicultural inhabitants. In the 19th century, it became the symbol of desired freedom from the oligarchic Bourbon lords.