The history of the church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio, founded in 1143 in Palermo, and more commonly known as the Martorana, is explored in a new museum adjoining the church inaugurated earlier this week.
The itinerary inside the museum takes visitors from the priest's home to the chorus of the former Benedictine Monastery, famous for the frescoes by Flemish artist Guglielmo Borremans, dating to approximately 1717, and for the tiled floor by Neapolitan artists, dating to the second half of the 18th century. From there, visitors can reach the top of the Campanile, a jewel of Palermo’s architecture.
The monastery is also famous because it housed the nuns who invented the “frutta di Martorana”, the famous marzipan sweets shaped in the form of fruits and vegetables, which today are one of Palermo's most typical sweet specialties.
The museum displays materials documenting the history of the building of the church, which was frequently renovated and restored from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, providing a glimpse into the evolution of the architectural style of Palermo through eight centuries.
The church and museum are located on Piazza Bellini.