Walking through the streets of the historic center, and exactly in Piazza Revolution in the district of the ancient Fieravecchiao in Piazza Garraffo alla Vucciria, it may happen that your attention is drawn to a strange statue depicting an elderly man in regal clothes.
This is the Genius of Palermo, a figure that perhaps many of the citizens themselves know today but which in the past was much loved by the people of Palermo; even, in past centuries, it was often portrayed together with our patron Saint Rosalia because it was considered by everyone to be the lay protector of the city.
The charming figure presents an elderly man with a crown on his head and regal clothes, holding a snake that feeds on his chest.
To make it more enigmatic, the motto that accompanies the fifteenth-century statue of the Genius kept inside the Palazzo Pretorio:
“Panormus conca aurea suos devorat alienos nutrit” (“Palermo, gold conca, devours its own, feeds the others”).
Many argue that it is a reference to the fate of this beautiful city that fascinates visitors but unfortunately often makes life difficult for its fellow citizens …
And to think that this motto was already present in the iconography of the 17th century genius, makes us think a lot about how the current situation of the city is not a recent reality but a fate to which we have perhaps been destined for centuries …
If you want to take a look at the old Genius, in addition to that of Vucciria and that of Piazza Revolution, you can find it depicted in other parts of the city; do not miss what is located inside Villa Giulia, a beautiful city park in the area of the Foro Italico overlooking the sea of Palermo.
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