Like many others, I suspect, we first saw this place being explained to Georgio Locatelli by the art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon, on a recent TV series called "Sicily Unpacked". Georgio walks into the Oratorio, and Andrew says "turn around".... and there it is: a whole wall, floor to ceiling in pure white stucco depicting the Battle of Lepanto (1571: southern Europe against the Ottomans), with three dimesional ships even with rigging. At which, I think, Georgio says "Wow". He's right: I was no fan of the Baroque before I came to Palermo, but Serpotta's work is fabulous. His angels and saints sit on ledges dangling their legs completely naturally; his cherubs look like real children, and tumble about, occasionally looking as if they have almost lost their balance and will fall out of their white heaven. The two urchins sitting in front of the Battle of Lepanto look tired and undernourished, and rather heartbreaking: boys swept into a men's war. The Oratorio is small, and set off a pretty courtyard with trees, which would be a cool spot in summer. It's within easy walking distance of the main sights in Palermo, west of the Vucchiria.
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