A Quick Look at the Church of Jesus (Casa Professa)

This article is intended to introduce you to the one of the most beautiful churches of the baroque era in all of Belpaese, the Church of Jesus (Chiesa del Gesù in Italian).

church jesus altar
Casa Professa altar

Buonasera dear friends, it is I, Don Tano here again to tell you more about the unparalleled sights of my beloved Sicily. Today, I will talk to you about what Palermo residents call Casa Professa, also known as the Church of Jesus. It is one of the most beautiful and exuberantly decorated churches anywhere on the island.

If you have already looked at the 👉self-guided walking tour of the Albergheria district, you will note that this church is one of the stops recommended for you to make. It is one of several great attractions in the area.

This church is a masterpiece showcasing baroque art and a distinct Renaissance flair.

You might take a look from the outside and believe that I have lost my mind. Surely this plain looking building cannot be what Don Tano was talking about, but trust the adage to “never judge a book by its cover” and trust your self-proclaimed expert guide to never let you down.

Starting With The Façade

This austere façade really does starkly contrast with the baroque decoration inside of the church. For a moment, people have to collect themselves when they finally walk inside to pick their jaws up off the floor. It truly is that magnificent.

church jesus exterior
Church of Jesus façade

But before we get into the church, let’s talk a moment about what you should check out on the exterior.

This exterior complements the look common to 16th century construction, giving it its definitive lines and turns. On the lower section, three prominent portals frame the main entrance. In the center, you will find a niche containing a statue of Madonna della Grotta with the Baby.

The left and the right feature statues of both St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier.

Now the time has come to unveil the interior!

Inside the Church

On the inside of the church, you immediately see the ornate decoration stretching from floor to ceiling, encompassing every area your eyes can see, and causing your jaw to lay slackly open.

casa professa palermo inside
Chiesa del Gesù inside

The tireless work spanning over 200 years by some of the most accomplished artists in the world is on display everywhere you look in sculptures, polychrome inlays, stucco art, frescoes, and ornate marble construction.

When you see the floor plan featuring a Latin cross with three naves, a large presbytery and several side chapels off of the main area, all showcasing this incredible décor and ornate presentation, you will wonder why no one ever thought to dress up the outside a little bit more.

The Chapels

There is a 🔥total of 15 chapels inside of the church itself, and touring each of these is highly recommended. All in all, it will take at least half an hour to accomplish, but it does offer a rich history of the church itself.

chapel church jesus
Chapel Church Jesus

While each of these chapels rivals the next in beauty, one common thread is that they are not very well maintained to preserve this beauty over the years. You will find that a lot of the paintings have turned nearly black over time, and the poorly positioned lights do not make it easy to recognize the skill put into each presentation.

The Presbytery

Another remarkable stop on this journey is the presbytery. Here you can gawk for quite a while at the visual representations (through numerous allegories) of the glory of Jesus’s name.

presbitery church jesus
Presbitery Church Jesus

The 🔥pipe organ you will find to the sides of the main altar was constructed in 1952 by the Crema Tamburini Company, and is deemed one of the most interesting organs that you are likely to see in all of Palermo.

A Quick Tip

Get the audio guide to walk you through the Church of Jesus. Most of the visitors to the church get this and it helps you to make heads and tails of the things that you are seeing and learn a bit of the history while you are at it.

If you are not completely left in awe after visiting the Church of Jesus, it could be an excellent time to pray for forgiveness against your sin of blatant neglect. Let’s just hope whoever is listening forgives you, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

That’s what you need to know, now get out there and see it for yourself. Once you are done, enjoy a glass or two of 👉authentic Sicilian wine and enjoy your evening. If you have any questions, concerns or comments, let me know below.

Grazie mille,

Don Tano Bongiorno

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About Don Tano

I’m full-blooded Sicilian born from the noise of the Vucciria market and the gentle sound of the waves of Mondello. I grew up eating “pane e panelle” and “pasta con le sarde”. But most of all, I grew up with an awareness: Palermo is a beautiful city to live intensely and to love without question!