The palace is the seat of the Archdiocese Of Syracuse, and houses the Archiepiscopal Seminary and, also, the ancient Alagonian Library.
The original building was a palace of the Swabian era, built during the times of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, around the year 1200. Today, the only trace of this palace is an ancient chapel, well preserved, located inside the courtyard of the present 19th century building. This Swabian construction presents some cross vaults very reminiscent of the Maniace Castle.
The palace underwent important changes in the Aragonese era. After the demolition of the first building, the current structure was commissioned by the Spanish bishop Juan de Torres Osorio of Syracuse, and the work began in 1618, under the supervision of the architect Andrea Vermexio.
The structure of the Archbishop’s Palace, as we know it today, is the result of systematic restorations made during the 18th and the 19th centuries, which transformed the building into a late Baroque style palace tending towards Neoclassicism. The building was inaugurated in 1854, by the then Archbishop Angelo Robino.
The facade of the palace is divided into three horizontal orders. On the lower one, we can find the elegant arched portal, framed by two windows with semicircular tympanums.
On the second order, we can admire the beautiful veranda, enclosed by a splendid wrought iron railing, with three openings, of which two surmounted by semicircular tympanums and the central one by a triangular tympanum.
On the upper order, there is a splendid triangular pediment bearing the coat of arms of Bishop Angelo Robino. The third order is characterized by six arched windows surmounted by semicircular tympanums.
Inside, we can find the Alagonian Library, with its ancient texts. Near the Swabian chapel, is the Treasury of the Duomo, with jewels and works of sacred art. Inside one of the courtyards, the rooms of the former bishop’s prison are also accessible.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo Arcivescovile is located in Piazza Duomo, about 1.8 kilometers from the Syracuse railway station. The palace can be found easily, but if you need a map, use the one below.