Santa Maria della Gancia, Palermo

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Santa Maria della Gancia, also known as Santa Maria degli Angeli, is a 15th-century Roman Catholic church, adjacent to a convent, located on Via Alloro #27 in central Palermo, region of Sicily, Italy.

(Cummentu di la Gancia) Convent of La Gancia)


The name La Gancia derives from an icon of the Child Jesus that was venerated here, supposedly fished from the sea by a monk from the adjacent Convent of the Gancia, which served as a hostel for pilgrims.[1]

The church was commissioned by the Franciscan order beginning in 1490 atop an older church dedicated to St Jerome. The church facade is a hybrid of late Spanish Gothic portal and plain awkward Renaissance windows.

The interior was decorated in the Baroque style. Some of the chapels contain stucco work by Serpotta and a main altarpiece of the Holy Family by Pietro Novelli (he also has works in the 3rd chapel on the left. The second chapel on the right has a painting depicting the Madonna and Saints Catherine and Agata (1528) by Antonello da Palermo. The pilasters of the Presbytery have the Virgin and St Gabriel by Antonello Gagini, who also has works in the 6th chapel on the left. The second chapel on the left has a Nativity by Vincenzo da Pavia.[2]

buca della salvezza

The church was memorable for an episode during the failed revolt against Bourbon Rule on April 4 1860. A number of patriots and some monks were killed outside during an assault by Bavarian mercenaries. Two Italian patriots hid themselves in its crypt among the tombs. They were able to tunnel out and escape to safety through a small perforation in the wall (buca della salvezza) still marked on Via Allora.[3] The Expedition of the Thousand by Garibaldi arrived a month later.


  1. ^ Province of Palermo Tourism office, entry.
  2. ^ Sicilia, Guida d'Italia, by Touring Club Italiano, 1996, page 166-167.
  3. ^ Westminster Review, Volumes 75-76, The Sicilian Revolution (1861), pages 179-180.

Coordinates: 38°06′59″N 13°22′14″E / 38.1164°N 13.3706°E / 38.1164; 13.3706