Pizzo Sella

Rotor, workshop at Pizzo Sella. Copyright Manifesta. Photo by CAVE Studio

Pizzo Sella is a promontory located in northwestern Palermo between the small villages of Mondello and Sferracavallo. It is surrounded by Mount Biliemi in the south and Mount Pellegrino in the east; all together they define the Conca d’Oro. Pizzo Sella promontory is the highest peak in the area topping out at 562 meters.
Between 1978 and 1983, about one million square metres of Pizzo Sella had been parceled off and built on by a local construction company. This process was the result of hurried building permits, illegal constructions, and several lawsuits. In fact, Pizzo Sella is considered a symbol of the so-called “Sacco di Palermo,” a popular term referring to the increase in construction from the 1950s through 1980s that led to the destruction of green areas in Palermo.
After years of complex legal procedures, the area remains with 59 habitable homes of 170. In 2013, a collective of artists called “Fare Ala” founded the street art project, Pizzo Sella Art Village.
Today, despite the unauthorised development, behind the abandoned and unfinished housing complex, there are paths that lead to the top of Pizzo Sella, connecting it with the Natural Oriented Reserve of Capo Gallo. From the top, Pizzo Sella has amazing views of the cliffs, sea, and city, offering new points of view on the relationship between man and landscape
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The architecture collective, Rotor, has realised an environmental intervention, Da quassù è tutta un’altra cosa (2018). Following the traces of human beings and animals, Rotor discover an ancient mountain path that joins the building complex to the Monte Gallo nature reserve. Close to the top, the collective transforms the concrete skeleton of an unfinished house into an observation point for breathtaking views. From high up, the disfigured hill thus becomes a device for healing, offering a form of relief from its long exploitation.

Pizzo Sella is part of the section City on Stage of The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence.