Oratory of the Rosary of Santa Cita, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

The Oratory of the Rosary of Santa Cita was built during the 17th century, its modest exterior belies its glorious interior as it houses some of the finest and most breathtaking works of stucco master Giacomo Serpotta. The oratory was established by the Rosary Company of Santa Cita to celebrate the ‘Glorious Mysteries’ of the Rosary and also to commemorate the perceived intervention of the Virgin Mary during the Battle of Lepanto (1571). The oratory was both a site of worship but also served a social function as a place of assembly for the members of the company.

Giacomo Serpotta decorated the oratory between 1686 and 1718 and it really is a marvel to behold. Represented on the left wall are the ‘Joyful Mysteries’, the ‘Painful Mysteries’ on the right wall and the ‘Glorious Mysteries’ on the back wall. The glorious mysteries tell the story of Mary’s life from the Annunciation to the Crowning of Mary. A beautiful neoclassical marble high altar is augmented by a painting of the ‘Madonna del Rosario’ by Carlo Maratta (1695) which was being restored on the day of my visit.

GPS: 38.12074, 13.3634

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