The 16th century Convent of Santa Maria la Grazia, better-known as the Convent of the Repentite, hosted the prostitutes converted to monastic life and maintained by the courtesans in service, through a tax payed to the Senate of Palermo, a necessary tribute if the ex-prostitutes wanted to dress as the “honest women”.
The crypt came to light by chance in 2005 during the renovation of the former religious complex in via Divisi, now used by University departments. Ir reveals a magnificent treasure: a 17th century altar decorated with majolica tiles, the tomb of Mother Abbess and the benches where the bodies of the dead nuns were placed for the natural drying process, carried out before they were buried in the ditch below the pavement of the crypt.
Inside the sepulchre of the Mother Abbess were found a lock of hair and two glass ampoules with some cartouches, thanks to which it was possible retracing the life of the nun.
Of this complex, are still visible the facade with the portal and the windows in Gothic style, some original columns and the rich pictorial decorations of the original nave of the church, located on the ceiling of a room.
Sistema Museale di Ateneo
Via Divisi, 81 - Palermo
for info and reservations:
+39 091 23893781