In the heart of the Cassaro, in Salita San Salvatore, lies Palazzo Natoli, a splendid building dating back to 1765, built by Vincenzo Natoli, judge of the Grand Criminal Court, who became Marquis in 1756 by order of Charles III of Bourbon.
The construction of the palace happens at a crucial historical moment for Palermo, a period of rebirth and growth, which comes after a dark period for the city. The noble families are relaunching Palermo, from a social point of view with lavish parties and great social activity. Palazzo Natoli is built in this context.
Palazzo Natoli is rich in history and important artistic evidence, some still visible, others lost. Among these, a certain curiousity surrounds the statue of the Naked Venus, as described in his Diary by Villafranca. Just as there is no trace of Antonio Manno’s works, which are instead documented.
A work by Martorana, placed in one of the building’s floors, is the Assumption, a fresco that covers the ceiling of a large hall. An example of how, after the Counter-Reformation, the painting depiction style changes: Mary does not have her hands joined in prayer, but her arms are outstretched and her gaze is absorbed, facing upwards. She is carried by angels and archangels to heaven among clouds, according to the tradition of the apocryphal Gospels.
According to what De Spuches explained, the fresco should be linked to the death of Natoli’s wife. Maria Sieripepoli. It was the Marquis himself who wanted the work, depicting his wife’s ascent to heaven with that of the Assumption of Mary.