Quattro Canti, located in Piazza Villena, represents the center of Baroque style Palermo. Its perfectly octagonal structure is formed by alternation of streets (Via Vittorio Emanuele and via Maqueda) and architectural wings.
At the time it was built, the square was one of the first examples of urban planning in Europe.
The facades that form the square are illuminated every day during daytime at least from one side, which is why they are also known as " the Theatre of the Sun".
The statues on the square were placed here starting from 1617 by Mariano Smiriglio, engineer of Palermo’s Senate. The statues represent the rivers of Palermo, Oreto, Kemonia, Pannaria and Papireto, the allegory of the seasons, the historical rulers of the city and the patron saints of Palermo.
The southern baroque monument, which belongs to the Albergheria district, is adorned with a statue of Venus (a personification of spring; Venus was a Roman goddess of love and beauty), a statue of the ruler Charles V and Saint Christina, one of the patron saints of Palermo.
The western monument, which belongs to the Capo district, is adorned with a statue of Ceres (a personification of summer; Ceres was a Roman goddess of earth and fertility), a statue of the ruler Philip II and a statue of Saint Ninfa.
The eastern monument, which belongs to the Kalsa district, is adorned with a statue of Aeolus (a personification of winter; Aeolus was the keeper of the winds in Greek mythology), a statue of the ruler Philip III and a statue of Saint Agatha.
The northern monument which belongs to the Loggia district, is adorned with a statue of Bacchus (a personification of autumn; Bacchus was a Roman god of wine and agriculture) and the statues of the ruler Philip IV and patron saint - Saint Oliva.
After the construction of this magnificent baroque square, there were public executions held in this place, sometimes even leaving executed bodies hanging from the forks for days as a warning to the population.