Beati Paoli

Beati Paoli is the name of a secretive sect of avengers, risen in Sicily, from XII century, with the aim to vindicate poor persons. The society was born to oppose against the excessive power of Nobles, whose administered directly even the criminal justice on their fief.

In 1909 the writer Luigi Natoli gathered all the oral legends and the informations from the pampleth of the Marquis of Villabianca, and created a famous novel, pubblished in episodes on the “Giornale di Sicilia”.

It is very difficult to establish the historical truth of this sect, but the setting is real: the nether Palermo, mainly the area under the quarter called “Capo”. There are many pits under the metropolis, excavated by the ancient river Papireto, some created by the popular fancy. The “Sirocco Rooms” used in XVI century to defend from the summer sultry weather, are often suggested as site of meetings of the mysterious sect.

The famous “Grotta dei Beati Paoli” is a nether pit near the church of Santa Maria di Gesù, called S. Maruzza, where, as the story goes, the sect of the black hoods established its court. It was linked to several nether pits by tortuous tunnels, being part of the compound of early Christian catacombs, still existing near the ancient Porta D’Ossuna.

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