Pretoria  Square

One of the scenographic urban areas of the old city centre, the square is dominated by domes and, on its sides, by two great religious buildings, facing each other on its east-west axis. To the east of the square is the church of Santa Caterina, attached to an important Dominican monastery with a large cloister housing a fountain with the statue of St Dominic, by Ignazio Marabitti. Erected between 1580 and 1596 late Renaissance style, the fašade in on two orders and is adorned with pilaster strips, trabeations, and a fine Ganinesque portal. The imposing dome dates back to the 18C. To the west of the square is the side of the church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini, with the slender dome adorned by paired columns in the drum and the polychrome majolica-tiled calotta. The church, designed by the Theatine Giacomo Besio, was started in 1612 and completed in 1645. On the southern side stand the Senatorial Palace, now the Town Hall, generally known as Palazzo delle Aquile, erected in 1463 and then enlarged and restored on various occasion until 1823. The magnificent circular fountain, nearly occupying the entire square, was built by the Florentine Francesco Camillani for the Florentine villa of don Pietro di Toledo and resold to the city of Palermo in 1573. On the left, two of the fascinating groups of statues adorning the fountain, with allegorical figures, pagan divinities, hermae and animal heads.