Curated by Cristina Costanzo, Massimiliano Marafon Pecoraro and Ettore Sessa

16 December 2023 – 30 May 2024

Opening of the exhibition: 15th December 2023, 8 pm.

Fondazione Sant’Elia, Palazzo Sant’Elia

Via Maqueda 81, Palermo

A selection of 500 works of art, architectural and applied arts drawings, furniture, paintings, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, sketches, clothes and jewellery from 70 public and private collections. Fondazione Sant’Elia plays host to a massive exhibition on the birth of a new style in Palermo, the Liberty Style.

“Palermo Liberty – The Golden Age”, a true golden age, where designers, painters, sculptors, decorators, craftsmen and productive firms all worked together to build a new city with a modern twist and suitable for the resurgent middle class. In a period of innovations and social changes, a new school is founded under the aegis of Ernesto Basile that aims to make Palermo one of the Liberty Style capitals in Italy. In Palermo, in those days, the cultural climate finds a way to participate in the European debate and covers many creative fields with a language close to the Art nouveau style.

The exhibition “Palermo Liberty. The Golden Age”, curated by di Cristina Costanzo, Massimiliano Marafon Pecoraro and Ettore Sessa, being held in Fondazione Sant’Elia, have been edited and coordinated by Antonio Ticali, Superintendent of the Foundation. The exhibition is orchestrated by the Scientific Board led by Maria Concetta Di Natale, other members are Danilo Maniscalco, Eleonora Marrone Basile, Raffaello Piraino and Dario Russo, together with the curators. The exhibition installation is taken care of by Silvia Cattiodoro and Calogero Vinci from the University of Palermo. Video installations are realized by Calogero Sorce.

The symbol of the exhibition is the so-called “pupa del Capo”, the mosaic depicts Demeter, goddess of wheat and fertility, much-loved by the inhabitants of the market of Capo, where it was installed in front of the Morello bakery until recently. Removed from there, the mosaic was restored and is kept in the Palazzo Ajutamicristo. The image of the event is inspired by this work of art and the logo portrays the stylised head of Demeter. The “pupa del Capo” was chosen because it represents the unique mixture between fine art and popular culture, which is one of the main characteristics of the Liberty in Palermo and will be unveiled to the public with an exhibition design curated by Laura Galvano.

The exhibition route across the Palazzo Sant’Elia moves backwards in time, from 1897, when the Teatro Massimo designed by Giovan Battista Filippo Basile was inaugurated, up to 1923, the year of the completion of the work of Cinema Massimo by Giovan Battista Santangelo, Ernesto Basile’s pupil, and is divided in theme rooms, with the insertion of video documentaries and video installations (created by Calogero Sorce).

“Palermo Liberty. The Golden Age” is an opportunity to turn the light on a widespread heritage, partially destroyed and nearly forgotten. It is precisely for that reason that the exhibition program includes interesting appointments and activities, together with the increased tourism offer, to enhance the cultural and historical testimony of that time.

The piano nobile of the Palazzo Sant’Elia features sections with videos dedicated to the “the Sack of Palermo” (CRICD materials), to the Targa Florio (in collaboration with ACI SPORT and Termini Imerese City Council), and to Ducrot. One exhibition hall features furnishings by E. Basile and other halls include teaching laboratories.

The exhibition is produced by Fondazione Sant’Elia, supported by the Regional Commission for Sicilian Tourism, Sports and Performing Arts and the Metropolitan City of Palermo, under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, the Sicilian Regional Assembly, the Regional Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity, the Town of Palermo, the University of Palermo, the Résau Art Nouveau Network, the Observatory for the Decorative Arts in Italy “Maria Accascina”.

Palermo Liberty, The Golden Age

Curated by Cristina Costanzo, Massimiliano Marafon pecoraro and Ettore Sessa.

16 December 2023 – 30 May 2024

Fondazione Sant’Elia, Palazzo Sant’Elia, Via Maqueda 81, Palermo.

Press presentation: Friday, 15 Dec, at 11 am.

Opening: Friday, 15 Dec, at 6 pm.



Opening times:

Tue-Sat 9am – 8pm (last entry 7pm)

Sun 10am – 8pm (last entry 7pm)

Tickets: full price ticket 13€

reduce price ticket 10€ 6-17 year-olds, Over 65, Teachers, University, Accademy of Fine Arts, FAI Members, Artsupp card members, Palermo Sailing Club members, Order of Lawyers of Palermo, Order of Engineers of Palermo, CRAL AMAT, CRAL UNIPA, CRAL UNICREDIT, CRAL Dipendenti Regione Sicilia, CRAL INPS, Association SCODAF Filippo Basile Sooc. Coop., Institut français Palermo, AIGU Association, groups of 15 people min.

school class 5€

free tickets 0-5 y/o kids.

Ticket point +390912712068


Laura Oddo

+ 39 3935839969 /


MLC Comunicazione

Maria Letizia Cassata | Chiara Lodato

+39 3389701502 / +39 3297956778 /