Ancient Greek parchments speak about the existence of a church on this place since the early centuries of Christianity, linked more or less to the fortress built nearby around the 5th century.
During the Norman domination of the area, the church was dedicated to the Madonna dell’Itria, a title widely used by the Greek churches and imported later to the southern Italy.
Following the earthquakes of 1509 and 1599, the church, badly damaged, was rebuilt and enlarged. This new church was dedicated to the Holy Virgin under the title of the Immaculate Conception.
During the earthquake of February 5, 1783, the roof and the magnificent dome collapsed. Two days later, the whole central vault fell. The church was rebuilt in brick and stone between 1825 and 1875.
In 1894, the church was damaged again, and extensive restorations became necessary. On this occasion, the bell towers were lowered and the brick vault was replaced by a wooden roof.
At the beginning of 20th century, the interior of the church was beautifully frescoed, but it was destroyed again by the earthquake of 1908, and rebuilt later in wood.
After the damage suffered in 1908, the church increasingly deteriorated for almost half a century. Before its last reconstruction, the church was completely demolished.
On June 14, 1958, the foundation stone was laid for the reconstruction of the current church. Not fully completed, the church was opened for worship on December 8, 1964, and was consecrated on February 10, 1970.
The facade is composed of elements taken from various architectural styles, especially Gothic. The lower order of the facade includes six columns without bases or capitals, belonging to the old church.
The church, with a Latin cross plan, is divided into three naves. The central nave is separated from the other two by eight large columns.
The slender bell tower rises on the back of the church and architecturally it represents a stylistic fracture with the rest of the building.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of the Immaculate Conception is located about 650 meters away from the Scilla railway station. To easily find the church on foot, use the map below.