Palermo is one of the most beautiful cities in southern Italy. Its long history has seen many civilisations and peoples, from Phoenicians to Carthaginians, from Romans to Saracens and Normans to Bourbons, who enriched it with considerable artistic and architectural heritage. Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2015 and Palermo was named the Capital of Italian Culture in 2018.
The city of Palermo has preserved a vast heritage of original cast iron objects used for lighting. In this presentation we will describe three interventions by Neri: the restoration of the four posts in Piazza San Domenico, true cast iron masterpieces; the reproduction of the 1920s posts designed by the great Art Nouveau artist, Ernesto Basile; and the restoration and reproduction of the posts around the Renaissance Fountain in Piazza Pretoria.
Restoration of the lamp posts in Piazza San Domenico.
Reproduction of the lamp posts designed by architect Basile.
Basile’s posts, reproduced by Neri, were the most popular model in the city in the late 1920s. A tall post featuring one or two swan necks and a luminaire with a bell-shaped screen. Some examples still exist in the city today, such as in Piazza Bellini.
Neri created the models for the new casts, respecting the shapes and measurements of the originals.
In the 1990s, Neri reproduced this lamp post model, which was gradually installed in the city’s main streets.
The project is still ongoing: the last intervention in 2018 took place outside the train station and the famous botanic garden. Most of the city has now gradually returned to using this type of lamp post, from Viale Roma and Via della Libertà to the Teatro Massimo and Porta Felice.
Restoration of the lamp posts in Piazza Pretoria
One of the most famous locations in Palermo is Piazza Pretoria, with its monumental 16th century fountain. The lamp posts that surround it are a unique model, found only here and at the Monreale Cathedral just a few kilometres from Palermo. Neri restored and returned them to their former splendour.
Light 801 Lanterns
The Light 801 Lantern by Neri is found in many streets and alleys of Palermo’s historic centre, which is gradually being revived with careful architectural restorations that make it even more interesting and pleasant to experience, even by night.
The historic Palermo, where heritage products and restoration interventions are extensive, co-exists with the Palermo of modern architecture. In this diverse setting, in central Via Ruggiero Settimo, which connects Piazza Politeama to the Teatro Massimo, the heart of Palermo, the posts from the Saiph series were installed with ‘Light 34’