Piazza & Fontana Pretoria
With 16 nude or partially nude figures encircling its basins, Fontana Pretoria’s position just outside the churches of Santa Caterina and San Giuseppe dei Teatini was considered rather audacious when it was unveiled in the 16th century, and Piazza Pretoria became known as ""Piazza della Vergogna"" (Square of Shame). Today, this lovely square and its fountain are highlights of Palermo’s historic center.
Learn about the history of this remarkable fountain with a guided walking tour or shore excursion through Palermo’s historic center to take in Piazza Pretoria, as well as the Royal Palace, Duomo, Massimo Theater, and other top attractions. Gourmands can sightsee in the city while sampling its famed street food by joining a food tour. Otherwise, opt for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour and explore the square and other sites independently.
Things to know before you go
- Wear sunscreen and a hat when taking a walking tour of Palermo.
- Comfortable shoes are a must for exploring this city on foot.
- This elegant square is closed to traffic and is wheelchair accessible.
- The fountain is encircled by a protective wrought iron fence, but can still be easily photographed.
How to get there
Piazza Pretoria is located just a few steps from the Quattro Canti and marks the exact center of Palermo’s old town. You can walk from the port and station, where ferries and trains from Italy’s mainland arrive.
When to get there
There is no shade in the sweeping Piazza Pretoria, and the summer sun can be grueling at midday. Visit in the early morning or late afternoon for a respite from the heat.
The Churches and Palaces of Piazza Pretoria
The square is lined by three important buildings: the 14th-century Praetorian Palace (the town hall), renovated in 19th century; the Church of St. Catherine, dating from the end of 16th century, and Palazzo Bonocore and Palazzo Bordonaro, two aristocratic residences. A monumental staircase is on the fourth side of the square, descending to Via Maqueda.
- Things to do in Sicily
- Things to do in Agrigento
- Things to do in Catania
- Things to do in Taormina
- Things to do in Messina
- Things to do in Syracuse
- Things to do in Mellieha
- Things to do in Valletta
- Things to do in Capri
- Things to do in Sorrento
- Things to do in Positano
- Things to do in Naples
- Things to do in Rome
- Things to do in Amalfi Coast
- Things to do in Lazio
- Vucciria Market (La Vucciria)
- Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Gesù)
- Ballarò Market (Mercato Ballarò)
- Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo)
- Mirto Palace House Museum (Palazzo Mirto Casa Museo)
- Opera Dei Pupi (Rod Marionette Theatre)
- Massimo Opera House (Teatro Massimo)
- Branciforte Palace (Palazzo Branciforte)
- Chiaramonte-Steri Palace (Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri)
- Capo Market (Mercato di Capo)
- Palatine Chapel (Capella Palatina)
- Four Corners (Quattro Canti)
- Politeama Garibaldi Theater (Teatro Politeama Garibaldi)
- Palermo Cruise Port (Terminal Crociere di Palermo)