“Four Corners” – Quattro Canti

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“Quattro Canti” ( Four Corners), as it is called by Palermitans, is the central point of the old town. Located at the intersection of the two main streets, Via Toledo (now Via Vittorio Emanuele) and Via Maqueda, the square is always illuminated by the sun and is consequently named the “Theatre of the Sun” as well.
Its real name is Piazza Vigliena from the Viceroy Juan Fernandez Pacheco, Marquis of Vigliena, who was the noble man that really wanted it to be laid out.
A very spectacular monumental ensemble of the Baroque style.
The most important characteristic of “Quattro Canti” is the octagonal appearance of this crossroads created by the four corner buildings enriched with four curved, concave wonderful facades onto the interchange. They were designed by the royal architect Giulio Lasso in 1608.
Each facade is decorated differently, sharing the same architectural style created by another royal architect, Mariano Smiriglio, who completed it in the following years.
Each facade rises to four levels with rising three orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian. In the center of the base of each canton is a fountain topped by a figure representing a season: Spring is represented by Venus adorned with flowers; Summer and Autumn are represented respectively by Ceres, with fruits and crops, and Bacchus, while Winter is Aeolus with a lantern in her hand.
 ph Enzo Ferreri
In the middle of the second order colummns, above these statues, there are respectively represented four Spanish Kings: Charles V, Philip II, Philip IV and Philip III.
The last order hosts the four patroness Saints of the Palermo districts that are behind each corner: Santa Cristina is the Patroness of the Royal Palace, Santa Ninfa is the Patroness of ” Monte di Pietà”, Santa Oliva of “Castello a mare” and Sant’Agata of “Tribunali” (Kalsa). Each corner is topped by three coats of arms: the Royal coat of arms is at the center, the Viceregal coat of arms and Palermo Senate one are at the sides.
The statues and marble decorations were created by our great sculptors of that time: Gregorio Tedeschi, Carlo D’Aprile and Nunzio La Mattina. The Statues of the kings, formerly bronze ones, were replaced in 1661 with the marble ones and also the marble basins were replaced with other ones after 1860.