The original structure of the church dates back to 1409, and was built on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Bacchus.
The church was razed to the ground by the catastrophic earthquake of 1693, which almost completely destroyed the city of Catania. On the initiative of three nuns who escaped the ruins of the church, the reconstruction, entrusted to the architect Stefano Ittar, began shortly after the earthquake. The new church was consecrated in 1723 and completed in 1769.
In 1976, the church was closed due to structural problems and, after about three years of consolidation, it was reopened for worship in 1979.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade of the church, in Sicilian Baroque style, is made of white Taormina stone. On each side of the portal, there are the statues of saints Placido and Benedetto, and above, on the second order, smaller, those of the saints Scolastica and Geltrude, work of the sculptor Carmelo Distefano.
The facade, concave in the center, is enclosed by a convex wrought iron railing, bearing the emblem of Saint Benedict in the center. On the top of the facade, there is a bell tower with three bells.
The interior has a single nave and, along its side walls, are fluted semi-columns. The walls are embellished with marble and golden stucco.
The four side altars are decorated with marble bas-reliefs and have four large paintings by the painters Michele Rapisardi and Giuseppe Napoli. The high altar is in polychrome marble and is supported by putti (cherubs), also in marble.
On the side walls of the apse, there are two large paintings by Michele Rapisardi and, behind the altar, two paintings by the painter Tullio Allegra.
HOW TO GET THERE
Catania Centrale, the main railway station of the city, is located about 1.1 kilometers away. The closest bus station is in Via Vittorio Emanuele 146, near the church, on the bus Lines 429, 431N, 439, 449, 530, 534, 536, 556, 628D, 925, 927 and 932.
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