In the heart of baroque Palermo
Piazza Villena, called Piazza dei Quattro Canti by the people of Palermo, was created in 1600 Palermo at the intersection of the opening of the new Via Maqueda with the pre-existing Via Vittorio Emanuele (the Cassaro). The creation of this intersection led to the division of the city into four parts, known as “Mandamenti”.
The decoration of the "cantos" of each of the monumental buildings on the square, was completed in 1621 and develops in four overlapping façade orders, in a pattern that tells the story of the transition from earth to heaven from bottom to top. At the street level there are fountains representing the four rivers that flowed through the city long ago. The allegories of the four seasons are on the upper level topped by statues of four Spanish rulers, while the statues of the four patron saints of each mandament Agata, Ninfa, Oliva, and Cristina, before the advent of Santa Rosalia and Benedetto da San Fratello, are on the top level.
The Square of the Four Songs is also known as the Theater of the Sun because at least one of the sides is bathed in sunlight throughout the whole day. Another name for the square is Theatre of the City because in past centuries it hosted important events, from festivals to executions.
With its location and architectural features, it is an ideal starting point for learning about the history of the city and its oldest neighborhoods.