The Church of San Matteo is a marvellous example of the Baroque style that runs along one of the most oldest and most important streets in the city, Vittorio Emanuele, which also goes by the name Cassaro from the Arabic “Al Quasr”, La fortificata.
The current building was founded in 1632 by the Unione dei Miserenimi, managed by the pious Friar Leonardo Galici, who dedicated his time to caring for the souls in purgatory. In 1647 the building became famous for celebrating more than one hundred masses on the many altars in the lateral chapels daily.
The building is in the form of a Latin cross, divided into three naves as designed by Mariano Smiriglio, then the inside was later decorated in the XVIII century with marble inlays and exquisite canvases.
The dome is decorated with frescoes by Vito D’Anna about the Triumph of Mary. There are four columns surrounding the altar with the four virtues: Faith and Justice, by Giacomo Serpotta, Charity and Hope, by Bartolomeo Sanseverino.
On the main altar covered in agate and lapis lazuli, a masterpiece produced by local workers in 1798, there is a painting by Giuseppe Testa depicting Christ offering himself up to God to save the souls of the human race, completing the theme of the joy of souls reaching up to paradise, frescoed by Vito D’Anna.
The central archway was frescoed by Vito D’Anna on the theme of the Apotheosis of the Saints and the liberation of souls from purgatory.
Point of Interest:
Under the left nave you can find the tomb of the brotherhood of the Union of the Miserenimi, of which the prestigious artists Giacomo Serpotta and Vito D’Anna were members. Among the elegantly frescoed wooden wardrobes of the Sacristy, there is a kneeling stool which, as legend has it, hides a door giving access to the Beati Paoli.
Everyday 10.00 – 18.00
Sunday 13.00 – 18.00
Corso Vittorio Emanuele – Palermo
Full ticket: 2.50
Reduced ticket: 1.50
Reduction for groups of 10 and for Circuito del Sacro ticket holders
Special thanks to Laura Williams for her translation