The Church of Santissimo Crocifisso is a church located on the northern part of Noto, in Piazza Mazzini. The Church of the Holy Cross is the largest religious building in the city, after the Cathedral of San Nicolò.
The church was built in 1715 by the architect Rosario Gagliardi, after a church with the same dedication from the ancient city of Noto (Noto Antica), located on Mount Alveria, was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The facade, with two incomplete orders, opens onto the large Mazzini Square, preceded by a wide staircase. On each side of the central portal, finely carved in limestone, two Roman lions were placed until 1984, when were transferred inside the church to preserve them from the atmospheric agents.
The church has a Latin cross plan with three naves, surmounted by an imposing dome. The interior is very bright due to the large windows of the central nave.
The wooden reliquary cross located in the apse was carved in 1746 by Vincenzo Rotondo, after a design by Gagliardi. On each side of the cross are two oval-shaped canvases depicting the Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) and San Giovanni.
In the chapel to the right of the transept, we can find the most important work in the church – the marble statue of the Madonna della Neve (Madonna of the Snow), dated 1471 and sculpted by Francesco Laurana. Another interesting sculptural work is the wooden bust of the Ecce Homo, from the 16th century, by an unknown author.
The church preserves precious relics which are today the object of public veneration – a Thorn from the Crown of Jesus, enclosed in a golden case, and a fragment of the Cross on which Jesus died, contained in a silver cross-relic.
The entrance door from the back of the church is dominated by the 19th-century organ, built by Michele Polizzi.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of the Holy Cross is located about 1.7 kilometers from the Noto railway station and about 600 meters from the Cathedral of Noto and the Ducezio Palace. To easily find the church on foot, use the map below.