All SEE in Acireale

The historical center of Acireale gathers many magnificent buildings, such as the Cathedral of Acireale dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, with a beautiful Baroque facade, the Municipal Palace, or Loggia Giuratoria, also in Baroque style, the Collegiate Basilica of San Sebastiano, the most important church in Acireale, declared a national monument, and the Church of Sant’Antonio da Padova, the oldest church in the city. Another attraction in Acireale is the beautiful Villa Belvedere, the largest public garden of the town, called so for the splendid panorama we can admire from its large balcony.

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    Church of the Madonna dell’Indirizzo

    The Church of the Madonna dell’Indirizzo is a Neoclassical church in Acireale, located in the northern part of the town, in Via Cervo, close to Villa Belvedere.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1709 at the behest of the Nicolosi family. The current Neoclassical facade with a semicircular pronaos was built in 1812 on a design by Sebastiano Ittar, who was also responsible for Villa Nicolosi, which stands on a small hill to the left of the church.   ART Inside the church, we can find the beautiful painting Santa Venera and Sant’Agata by Giacinto Platania. Platania was the greatest painter of Acireale during the 17th century.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of the Madonna dell’Indirizzo is located about 3 kilometers away from the Acireale railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Indirizzo, about 100 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4. However, the buses have a very low frequency in Acireale, it’s difficult to find the timetables and often there are delays and sudden cancellations of journeys, so the best solution to get to the railway station is a taxi.

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    Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata

    The Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata is the Cathedral of Acireale, located in the beautiful Piazza del Duomo, next to the Basilica of Santi Pietro e Paolo. The church is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but also to Santa Venera, patron saint of Acireale. The relics of the Saint are kept in a magnificent chapel of the right transept.   SHORT HISTORY A first structure on this site was built during the 15th century, and it consisted of a single chapel with three walls, where a painting of the Annunciation was venerated. In the 16th century, the chapel was demolished, and a new, larger church was built, with aisles and a bell tower. The construction of the current Cathedral was approved by the Municipality of Acireale on October 8, 1597, and the work started the following year. The whole complex undergone continuous extensions and modifications since 1598, until it reached its present appearance in 1889. In 1693, during the earthquake of Val di Noto, the structure suffered significant damage. The vaults of the transept collapsed, the entire roof was compromised, the dome cracked, and the bell tower damaged.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo

    The Church of Santa Maria del Carmelo is a church in Acireale, located at the crossroads of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via Galatea, close to the historical center of the town.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built before 1554. The date was deduced after the discovery of a plaque with the sepulchral inscription of Petra Castagna, nephew of Pope Urban VII, who died on September 1, 1554, and was buried there. During the pontificate of Clement VIII, the convent was closed. In 1621, during the pontificate of Gregory XV, after the Carmelites of Catania began the reform of the Carmelite Order, the convent and the church were renovated and reopened. The earthquake of January 11, 1693, caused the partial collapse of the structures. The terrible event was followed by the reconstruction of the convent and the enlargement of the church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a Baroque facade completed in 1786, bordered by pilasters for the entire height of the structure, decorated with columns and divided into three superimposed orders of decreasing dimensions. In the first order, a pair of Ionic columns with Corinthian capitals support a massive architrave that surmounts the only portal of the Read more [...]

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    Villa Belvedere

    Villa Belvedere, officially known as Giardino Vittorio Emanuele III, is the largest public garden of Acireale, located in the northern part of the town, in Piazza Indirizzo, at the end of Corso Italia.   SHORT HISTORY Villa Belvedere was built in 1848, and took the name of Belvedere for the splendid panorama we can admire from its large balcony, located at the end of the main avenue.   ARCHITECTURE From the balcony, the main attraction of the garden, we can see in front, below, the Timpa, the terrace of lava origin on which Acireale was built. To the left, we can observe the eastern coast of Sicily up to Taormina, and even Calabria during the clear days. To the right, we can see the same coast of Sicily, but this time to the south, up to the hills of Augusta. On the left side of the garden, there is a gazebo which, in the summer, is used for musical events. Further on, there is a small sports field recently built. On the right side of the garden, there is the basin with the marble sculptural group of Aci and Galatea, inspired by a work of art now found in the Read more [...]

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    Collegiate Basilica of San Sebastiano

    The Collegiate Basilica of San Sebastiano is a Baroque church in Acireale, dedicated to Saint Sebastian, located in Via Vittorio Emanuele II, about 100 meters away from Piazza del Duomo and the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, the ancient Church of San Sebastiano, built after the plague epidemic of 1466, was the main place of worship in the area. Between 1609 and 1644, from public funds provided by the Municipality and donations from the faithful, a new church was built about 150 meters further north, on the same Via Vittorio Emanuele II, and dedicated to the same Saint Sebastian. On July 13, 1652, the old Church of San Sebastiano, following an agreement between the Confraternity of San Sebastiano and the Confraternity of Sant’Antonio, changed its dedication to Saint Anthony of Padua. In 1693, the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto damaged the church. The Basilica was extensively renovated between 1699 and 1705, receving its current appearance. The church was elevated to a collegiate church by the papal bull of November 20, 1924. In December 1990, Pope John Paul II elevated it to the dignity of a minor basilica.   ARCHITECTURE The structure is Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Municipale

    Palazzo Municipale (Municipal Palace), also known as Loggia Giuratoria or Palazzo della Città (City Palace), is a Baroque palace in Acireale, located across Piazza del Duomo from the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata, next to the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Palazzo Municipale houses the seat of the Municipality of Acireale.   SHORT HISTORY Begun in 1659, Palazzo Municipale was badly damaged in 1693 by the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto. The reconstruction, based on a design by the architect Constantino Larcidiacon, lasted throughout the 18th century. Damaged again by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1818, the palace was restored in 1908, undergoing profound structural changes.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade overlooking Piazza del Duomo, built in late Baroque style, is punctuated by elegant ashlar pilasters. On the ground floor, there is a long balustrade interrupted only by the entrance portal. On the first floor, the balconies, with wrought iron railings, are supported by Baroque masks. Other things worth mentioning regarding the design of the palace are the municipal coat of arms, placed above the portal, the epigraphs of the atrium, which constitute a sort of secular marble newspaper of the city, and the fresco Italy, Read more [...]

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    Basilica of Santi Pietro e Paolo

    Basilica of Santi Pietro e Paolo is a Baroque church in Acireale, located in Piazza del Duomo, near the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Annunziata. The church is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.   SHORT HISTORY A first church on this site dates back to the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century, the idea of building a new, larger church, appeared. The new church, with a single nave, a large sacristy and a side chapel, was completed in 1635. During the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto of 1693, the church was badly damaged. The chapel, the sacristy and the adjacent Chapel of Jesus and Mary collapsed. The reconstruction began in 1740, on a design by Pietro Paolo Vasta. In 1765, the facade was completed by Paolo Guarrera. In 1790, under the direction of Francesco Di Paola Patanè, the interior was renovated, replacing the wooden roof with a stone masonry vault. The church was transformed into a collegiate church in 1924, and was elevated to the rank of a minor pontifical basilica in 1933, by Pope Pius XI.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has an elegant facade in white stone from Syracuse, characterized by the superimposition Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Duomo

    Piazza del Duomo is the main square of Acireale, located at the intersection of three important streets – Via Ruggero Settimo, Corso Umberto and Corso Savoia.   SHORT HISTORY In the 14th century, some families from the Aci Castello area moved further north, where the village of Acireale was born. The place where the people settled is the current Piazza del Duomo. In 1596, the square was enlarged, and some buildings were demolished. Several shops were built around the square, and Piazza del Duomo also became the central market of the town. The pavement of the square was changed in 2009. The work was entrusted to the architects Paolo Portoghesi and Vito Messina, and to the engineer Aldo Scaccianoce.   ARCHITECTURE The flooring of the square has a well-defined geometry, with concentric circles divided into 12 sectors for the first two rings and 24 sectors for the remaining ones. In the center of the square, there are six circles intertwined with each other according to a hexagonal geometry, with the coat of arms of Acireale in the center. To the north of the square, we can find the Cathedral of Acireale, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Read more [...]