Oratorio di San Lorenzo
Oratorio di San Lorenzo
4.5
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles611 reviews
Excellent
452
Very good
131
Average
23
Poor
1
Terrible
4

kgib61
Italy110 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Fascinating tour. This one of those little gems that are brought to life by a highly informed guide. The Caravaggio replica is quite a story, a tragedy in Palermo’s history. However, the location is more than that. The guide’s explanation of the various stucco sculptures was super-interesting and would have been completely lost if we had just casually walked through. A half hour well spent.
Written May 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sz54
Vienna, Austria163 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
Impressive decor of that intimate room of prayer. Look also under the benches with the little wooden statuettos marking the individual seats of the monks. Most interesting: Who stole the Caravaggio and managed to get it out of the building, unseen?
Written August 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mairwen1
United Kingdom10,646 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
This is a tiny but stunning chapel to the left of St Francis’ church. I might have overlooked it but I was intrigued by the story of the stolen Carravaggio painting that was taken from the altar of the small chapel one night in 1969.

Listed on the FBI’s list Top 10 Art Crimes, the nativity scene is the most valuable still-missing work of art in the world. Who stole it remains a mystery and it’s never been recovered. To add to the poignancy, it was one of the last paintings Carravaggio did. A year after completing it, he had died in unknown circumstances at just 38 years old. A life-size copy hangs in its place instead.

Although it was the art-heist story that drew me in initially, the oratory really was very beautiful. Splashes of gold around the altar highlight the pure white of the rest of the oratory. The interior is entirely covered with snowy white stucco ‘putti’ (cherubs) and scenes from the lives of St Frances and St Lawrence. I’ve heard it called the cave of white coral. It really does look a lot like that.

It is only small (just the one room) but the decoration is so detailed that we spent some time there. The cherubs are a playful tangle of chubby limbs and baby wings and are just gorgeous. It struck me that it would be impossible to concentrate on prayer and not be distracted by these fanciful, lively creatures.

Other details include the exquisitely detailed mahogany pews, patterned with mother-of-pearl and ivory and the gruesome scene of St Lawrence who was painfully and slowly martyred by being tied to an iron grill over a fire of coals. In a brilliant display of bravado, he is supposed to have said before dying, “I am well done. Turn me over”.

TIP - the ‘Circuito del Sacro’ ticket gives you a discount off the entry price for this and a dozen or so other churches. Just ask for it at the first church you visit.
Written November 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

johnbF3834BF
Blackburn, UK32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2016 • Couples
Although the Mafia in 1969 robbed the world of the Maetros' Nativity original stunning alter piece the recently installed (Jan 2016) excellent copy by Factum Arte of Madrid will transport you back to the early 1600's to stand , literally, in the footsteps of the miraculous Michangelo Merise aka Caravaggio !!
This "copy" is best studied from the seats arranged at the rear of the Oratorio where you can gaze on the sublime effects of a world renown artist.
The stuccos were unknown to me but they are exquisite examples of Sicilian Baroque in full bloom. Many of the originals are now housed in other museums but the replicas are still worthy of your time.
The Oratorio is only small in space but that does not detract from the overall impact of this surprising structure. Do not miss the Nativity !!!!!
Written February 23, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Geoffy
Wimborne Minster, UK866 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Friends
Perhaps slightly off the beaten track, but seems to be included in guide books. This is one of 3 oratorio with stucco sculpture by the master, Giacomo Serpotta (the others are San Domenico and Santa Zita to the north a few hundred metres - from reviews, Santa Zita sounds a good bet too). We saw it on a TV programme about Sicily, otherwise would never have bothered. It seems that others didn't bother as the 4 of us were the only ones in there for the 45 minutes or so that we stayed. Can't remember the exact cost, but only a few Euros
It's a shame that some of it is damaged and that the Caravaggio was stolen and replaced by a rather poor digital copy. It's also a pity that you can't take photos (a young lady from the ticket office stayed with us the whole time) and that there are relatively few good postcards. All the same, the place was stunning - how can you spend so long in such a small place? Well, you look at it for a bit, and then look some more, and then start to find interesting stuff... and then you find more interesting stuff: the putti (not sure of correct translation, but I'd say naughty cherubs) and what they're doing, actions and expressions on faces, and so on. The young lady was a great source of information too once we got talking to her and we kept seeing more and more.
If we return to Palermo we'll come back here and try one of the other oratorios ('oritoria'?) too.
Written July 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

marcus h
Greater London, UK22 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
A must see visit San Lorenzo.
A small church in a side street of Palermo it is easily overlooked but take the time to find this church.
Famed as the place where a Caravaggio was stolen from. It has a recreation of the picture Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence that gives a flavour of the original.
All this we knew before visiting. What was an eye opener was the remains of the 3d 'pictures' in plaster (stucco work by Giacomo Serpotti according to the brochure). These have had many of the principal characters removed (stolen) nevertheless even in their reduced condition they are amazing.
In addition there a riot of plaster cherubs frolicking on the walls, a very fine marble floor and take the time to look at the supports of the benches - finely carved saints (?).
As it stands today it is exquisite - what must it have been like before it was pillaged.
Well worth your time.n
Written October 26, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jane s
sanctuary cove130 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Couples
The Palermo oratories really should all be seen if your visit allows the time. They are all different, but the Serpottas were masters of their trade and somehow the strictly religious becomes humanist and real. Of course they tell stories - get hold of a decent guide and read up to get the most out of them - but the supreme being gets a gentle nudge along in the various portrayals of both religious and secular subjects.
Written June 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrea-Emilio R
Lugano72 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Family
Astounding plaster sculptures by the absolute master of that time: Giacomo Serpotta. The total white is in stark contrast with the expectations one has of the Baroque style. A must see.
Written July 20, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MILOUW
New York City, NY1,366 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Solo
The whole room is an exercise in sculpting virtuosity.
Putti are everywhere and the religious purpose of the whole exercise is unclear.
Worth the effort of finding the place
Written November 14, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

starmagnolia
Sydney412 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This littke place, with a €3 entry fee, delights with its stucco cherubs in joyful play. To be admired also are the statues if the virtues. Very cheerful, endearing and nice for children to see the little cherubs being cheeky. Sweet and fun.
Written November 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Palermo

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