The Church of San Biagio, also known as the Church of Sant’Agata alla Fornace, is a Neoclassical church in Catania, located in Piazza Stesicoro, a few meters away from the Roman Amphitheater of Catania.
Originally, there were two churches on this site, one dedicated to San Biagio (Saint Blaise), and the other dedicated to Sant’Agata (Saint Agatha), built in the 11th century atop the furnace where the Saint was martyred.
After the terrible earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost completely the city of Catania, a new church was built and the two parishes joined.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade of the church was built in Neoclassical style by the architect Antonino Battaglia. The facade is characterised by four columns in Corinthian style, supporting a triangular tympanum.
The interior of the church has a single nave. The main altar is decorated with scrolls and columns and with the statues of Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Mary Magdalene.
On the right wall, there are the Chapel of San Biagio and the Chapel of Sant’Andrea Apostolo, while on the left wall we can find the Chapel of the Holy Family and the Chapel of Saint John of Nepomuk.
In the right transept, there is the Chapel of Sant’Agata. Above the altar with its magnificent frontal in polychrome marble, the remains of the furnace in which the Saint suffered martyrdom are preserved, protected by a reliquary. In the left transept, there is the Chapel of the Holy Crucifix.
The pipe organ is the result of a faithful reconstruction of the original from the first half of the 18th century.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of San Biagio is located about 1.3 kilometers away from the Catania Centrale railway station. The closest bus stop is Stesicoro Sicilia, located about 150 meters away, on the bus Line 504M.