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Church of the Immaculate Conception, al Capo

Chandelier, frescoes, intarsio, and local marble
I first saw this church on one of Anthrolpogist Carlo di Franco's Palermo of Mysteries tours in Palermo's Capo market. Usually this church is closed, but he had someone open it one night for his group of 100 Palermo lovers. we oohed at the intarsio, four stone inlay side altars that looks as though they're painted.

Here's the chandelier:

More intarsio. Just look at it!

Meanwhile, outside on the dark slimy cobblestones are the shuttered butcher shops containing the carcasses of dead quadrupeds. When I first came to Palermo large hunks of meat meat were displayed on the street in front of butcher shops where a boy shooed flies off it with a horsetail flicker. This church is a beauty hidden among the market stalls and is now one of my top four in Palermo -- la Martorana, Sant'Ignazio all'Olivella, Casa Professa, and now L'Immacolata Concezione. I'm not counting the Capella Palatina,which is off the charts.
It is always a surprise to walk in off a street into an unknown church. n a single step you cross a threshold from smells, noise, crush, obstruction into cool, dark, asylum. Fret, chaos and sirens spiral up twisted infinity columns. You walk into cherub pudge, Serpotta's white virtues, the gilt vanilla icing of Palermo baroque, Byzantine dados of pure gold and lapis lazuli. The thin ray of light that shines on the zodiac gnomon, a slim bronze lazy 8 set in the cathedral floor.

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