All Churches in Sicily

Italy has many churches, and all of them are beautiful and full of spectacular works of art. The main church of the city is referred as Il Duomo, but you will find churches that are named Basilica, Chiesa or Cattedrale, depending on their size and importance.

Some of the most beautiful churches in Italy are the Basilica di San Marco and the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, the Cathedral of the Nativity of Saint Mary and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto and the Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore in Verona.

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    Cathedral of Sant’Agata

    The Cathedral of Sant’Agata is the Cathedral of Catania, dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha, located in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY The church had a tumultuous history, being repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquakes occurred in the area. A first church was built around 1086 on the ruins of the Achilliane Baths dating back to Roman times. On February 4, 1169, an earthquake completely destroyed the ceiling of the church, killing many people gathered in the Cathedral. In 1194, under the reign of Henry VI, a fire caused considerable damage to the structure. In 1693, the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto destroyed the Cathedral almost completely, leaving only the apse and the facade. The bell tower was also put to the ground. The reconstruction of the church was made during the 18th century. The current building is the work of the architect Girolamo Palazzotto, who is responsible for the interior, while Giovanni Battista Vaccarini designed the facade, which was built between 1734 and 1761. In 1857, the bell tower was completed, and the current layout of the churchyard was built in the 19th century.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Read more [...]

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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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    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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    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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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata is a church in Catania, located in Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, about 300 meters away from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, this site housed a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. In 1254, the Franciscan Order settled in Catania, near the Church of San Michele, adjacent to the Ursino Castle. In 1260, the Franciscan friars moved to the current place, where the old Church of Speranza stood. In 1329, Eleanor of Anjou, Queen of Sicily and the wife of King Frederick II of Aragon, promoted the construction of a convent and church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. Eleanor of Anjou was buried here in 1343. In 1693, the terrible eartquake of Val di Noto destroyed the church almost completely, and the structure was rebuilt in Baroque style in the following century.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The small churchyard is preceded by a staircase of Etna lava stone, with a wrought iron gate and a balustrade with four pillars that support the imposing statues of San Giuseppe da Copertino, Sant’Agata, Santa Chiara d’Assisi and San Bonaventura. The facade of the church, built around 1854, is decorated by Read more [...]

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    Church of San Biagio

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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. Read more [...]

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    Church of Montevergine

    The Church of Montevergine is a Baroque church in Noto, located in Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, about 150 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church is situated at the upper end of Via Corrado Nicolaci, the street which hosts every year the famous Infiorata di Noto.   SHORT HISTORY The church was begun in 1695 on a project by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, and was completed and opened for worship in 1762.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has a concave facade, without Baroque decorations, characterized by the measured geometry of its twin bell-towers and by a short staircase leading to the portal, bordered by two quadrangular columns. Inside, the church has a single nave, surrounded by Corinthian half-columns that give the whole interior a classical style. The 18th-century majolica floor of the nave is still intact. Of particular value is the Baroque central altar, in polychrome marble, surmounted by an artistic ciborium, rich in decorations. The paintings in the vault and in the four side altars are attributed to Costantino Carasi. One of them, the Deposition, is dated back to 1712, and the others depict the Marriage of the Virgin, the Madonna of the Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agata

    The Church of Sant’Agata is a Baroque church in Noto dedicated to Saint Agatha, located in Via Raffaele Trigona, about 350 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church, now deconsecrated, was the only church dedicated to Saint Agatha – the Martyr Saint of Catania, in the entire province of Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY Although is the oldest church in Noto, this does not mean very old, because the whole city was rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1693. The church was built at the beginning of the 18th century on a project by Rosario Gagliardi, and consecrated in 1710.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church stands on top of a scenic staircase, with an interesting parvis paved with lava stone and river pebbles at its base. The facade of the church has an elegant rectangular shape, and is characterized by its beautiful portal. The portal is surmounted by a triangular architrave framed by a double order of Ionic columns that support the central entablature. The central window, framed by precious garlands carved in bas-relief, is surmounted by a decorated tympanum. The interior, with a single nave, has the vault decorated with polychrome stuccoes, together with the wonderful Read more [...]

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    Church of the Madonna del Carmine

    The Church of the Madonna del Carmine (Our Lady of Carmel) is a Baroque church in Noto, located in Via Ruggero Settimo, about 500 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built by Corradino Randazzo and Vincenzo Sortino on a project by Rosario Gagliardi. The building was completed in 1743.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, slightly concave towards the inside, has a single portal, surmounted by a large coat of arms of the Carmelites, supported by two angels. Above the coat of arms, there is a large semicircular architrave. The entablature is supported by four pillars in Corinthian style. The second order has a central window, with two pillars on the sides. The lateral pinnacles are decorated with geometric figures carved in bas-relief. The third order is represented by a bell-gable consisting of three arched niches surmounted by pinnacles. Inside, the church has a single nave decorated with fine polychrome stuccoes and frescoed geometric and floral figures. On both sides of the nave, there are splendid Baroque altars containing beautiful works of art, including 18th-century paintings. The most beautiful part of the church is undoubtedly the presbytery, with the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Domenico

    The Church of San Domenico is a church in Noto, located in via Matteo Raeli, overlooking Piazza XVI Maggio, about 280 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò. The church, dedicated to Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, is one of the most important and best preserved examples of Baroque architecture in Noto, and one of the most significant masterpieces of the late Baroque in the entire south-eastern Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Domenico was built at the behest of the Dominican friars on a project by the architect Rosario Gagliardi, between 1703 and 1727.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has two orders, the lower one in Doric style, and the upper in Ionic style. The central part of the facade has a convex shape and protrudes towards the street. The interior, well preserved, is structured on an elongated Greek cross plan, with three naves and five domes richly decorated with stuccoes, and side altars in polychrome marble with 18th-century paintings, among which the Madonna del Rosario by Vito D’Anna stands out. The third altar on the left aisle has a Crucifix and various marble panels with scenes from the Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro

    The Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro is a Baroque church dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Syracuse. Together with the nearby Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia and the Convent of the Franciscan Friars Minor, the Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro is part of the sanctuary built on the site where the Saint was martyred in 304, during the persecution of the emperor Diocletian.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro was built in 1629 on a project by the architect Giovanni Vermexio, on the site of an ancient church dedicated to Saint Agatha. The works were interrupted when the Duke of Albuquerque considered that the building could represent, from a military point of view, the possible position for an artillery gun, in the event of a siege. The precise orders of the Duke determined the current layout of the church.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has the shape of an octagon, but only the four sides overlooking Piazza Santa Lucia have architectural decorations. The corners of the octagon are marked by counter-pillars crowned by Corinthian capitals enriched by exuberant decoration with shells and masks. A large double flight staircase gives access Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia

    The Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia is a church dedicated to Saint Lucia, the patron saint of Syracuse. It is called extra moenia due to its location outside the ancient city walls. Together with the nearby Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro and the Convent of the Franciscan Friars Minor, the Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia is part of the sanctuary built on the site where the Saint was martyred in 304, during the persecution of the emperor Diocletian.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built around the year 1100 by the Normans. From that period, the facade, the portal with the characteristic capitals and the first two orders of the bell tower are preserved. Subsequent additions and rearrangements changed its appearance starting from the 14th century. Other interventions took place during the 17th century, most probably by Giovanni Vermexio, who also built the nearby Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro in 1629. In 1693, the earthquake of Val di Noto caused a lot of damage to the church, forcing necessary reconstruction interventions. Around the same time, the portico attributed to Pompeo Picherali and the last order of the bell tower were added. The portico collapsed in 1970, Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni Battista

    The Church of San Giovanni Battista, popularly known as San Giovannello, is a church in Gothic style dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, located in Piazza del Precursore, on the island of Ortygia, in Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 14th century on the remains of another early Christian church of the 4th century. Later, the church became a Jewish synagogue. After the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the building was converted back into a Christian church and used as such until 1915. After the structure was used for a long time as a theater, auditorium and hall for conferences and performances, it was reopened for worship in 2015.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, dating back to 1380, has a beautiful 15th-century portal and a rose window. The roof of the building is completely absent. On the right of the facade, there is a bell-gable without any bells. The larger bell, from the 9th century, was melted during the First World War, and the second bell, smaller, cast at the beginning of the 20th century, was moved in 1920 to the nearby Church of Santa Maria della Concezione. The interior of Read more [...]

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    Church of Sant’Agostino

    The Church of Sant’Agostino is a deconsecrated church in Taormina, located in Piazza IX Aprile, across the square from Torre dell’Orologio.   SHORT HISTORY A first church, the Church of San Sebastiano, was built on this site in 1486, in Gothic style. On September 12, 1530, the church was given to the Order of Saint Augustine, and the Augustinians changed its dedication. As a result of the Royal decree of 1866 for the suppression of religious orders and congregations, the church and the adjacent convent were expropriated and acquired by the Municipality. The complex was used at first as an art gallery, and then as an elementary school. In 1933, the convent became a library, to house the book heritage of the former monasteries of Sant’Agostino, San Domenico and Sant’Antonio of Padua. The library has over 22,000 volumes, of which 2,000 are dedicated only to Sicily. The library collection consists mainly of treatises on theology, philosophy and sciences. In 1981, the entire complex was restored, and since 1985 it was used both as a library and as a multipurpose space for art exhibitions and cultural events.   ARCHITECTURE From the ancient facade of the church, only the small rose window Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria

    The Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria is a Baroque church located on Corso Umberto, in the historical center of Taormina, near Porta Messina.   SHORT HISTORY The Order of Capuchin Friars arrived in Taormina towards the middle of the 16th century, and at the beginning of the 17th century, more precisely on April 27, 1610, bought the old Church of Santa Caterina, located outside the city walls. The new Church of Santa Caterina, located this time inside the city walls, was built in the first half of the 17th century on the ruins of a small Roman theater. During the 20th century, due to a precarious state, the Church of Santa Caterina was closed for about 40 years. The building was renovated and reopened for worship on November 25, 1977.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church is delimited by two corner pilasters. The entrance, raised by five steps above street level, is characterized by a central portal in pink Taormina marble with two Ionic columns on high plinths, surmounted by Corinthian capitals. The architrave supports two curled lateral volutes, with small angels above. The niche between the angels houses the statue of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, depicted Read more [...]

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    Church of San Antonio Abate

    The Church of San Antonio Abate is a small church in Taormina, located on the southern edge of the historical center of the town, near Porta Catania.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Antonio Abate was built around the year 1330. After the bombing of 1943, during the Second World War, the church was almost completely destroyed, but it was immediately rebuilt with the stones recovered from the rubble.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The architectural style of the church can be defined as eclectic. On the facade, we can find Byzantine elements, Gothic influences are present in the construction of the portal – clearly visible in the pointed arch above the architrave, and also Baroque elements appear in the small bell-gable placed on top of the left corner of the facade. The portal, built in white limestone, is surmounted by a pointed arch, with a tympanum decorated with small arches. The facade also features two small windows placed on the sides of the portal, and a small stone cross at the top. The church has a single nave, with an arched niche on the left wall decorated with gray Taormina marble, while in the upper part it imitates a Read more [...]

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    Church of San Michele Arcangelo

    The Church of San Michele Arcangelo is a small church in Taormina, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel, located about 140 meters away from the Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari and Piazza Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Michele was built in Baroque style at the beginning of the 17th century, close to the walls of Palazzo Duchi di Santo Stefano. The church was heavily damaged by the bombings of 1943, during the Second World War, and despite the subsequent restoration from the 1950s, it was reopened for worship only in 2011.   ARCHITECTURE The best proof that the church was built in the 17th century is the Baroque portal on the facade. The beautiful portal has the jambs and the architrave in pink Taormina marble. Above the portal, there is a small rectangular window, surmounted by an iron cross at the top. A bell-gable with two bells is located on the left of the cross. The church have a single nave. The ceiling features exposed wood-beam trusses. Inside the church, there is a small crypt.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Michele Arcangelo is located about 850 meters from Porta Messina, the main Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari

    The Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari is the Cathedral of Taormina (Duomo di Taormina). The church is located in Piazza Duomo, along Corso Umberto, near Porta Catania, in the historical center of Taormina. Due to the external fortification elements, the church is also known as the Cathedral Fortress.   SHORT HISTORY The first cathedral of Taormina was the primitive Church of San Francesco di Paola. Starting with 962, during the muslim rule of the town, the Christian worship was prohibited, and following the Norman conquest of Taormina, in 1078, the town lost its bishopric. The construction of the current Cathedral, with the layout and characteristics of a fortress, dates back to the 13th century. The Cathedral was built in Sicilian Romanesque-Gothic style over the remains of a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra (also known as Nicolas of Bari). The Cathedral was partially rebuilt during the 15th century, and the Renaissance style portals were added at the beginning of the 16th century. The church was remodeled in the 17th century with the addition of the Baroque portal on the main facade, and the construction of the chapels in the side apses. Between 1945 and 1948, the Neapolitan architect Read more [...]

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    Church of San Nicolò l’Arena

    The Church of San Nicolò l’Arena is a church in Catania, located in Piazza Dante Alighieri. The church, measuring 105 meters in length, about 71 meters in width in the transept area, with a maximum height of 66 meters at the dome, is the largest in Sicily. The first church erected by the Benedictines in Catania was entitled Sancti Nicolai de Arenis, after the Saint Nicholas of Bari and the red sandstone (rena rossa) of Nicolosi, a town in the province of Catania from which the monks arrived.   SHORT HISTORY The grandiose Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena was founded on November 28, 1558. The church was inaugurated in 1578, in the presence of the viceroy of Sicily, Juan de la Cerda. In 1669, the structure was destroyed by the Etna eruption that struck the western side of the city. Starting with 1687, the church was rebuilt further south than the original site, on a project by the Roman architect Giovanni Battista Contini. In 1693, the works were interrupted by the violent earthquake of Val di Noto, and for the next thirty years the monastery remained without a main church. In 1730, the construction of the church was resumed, and Read more [...]

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    Basilica della Collegiata

    Basilica della Collegiata, also known as Basilica Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina, is a Baroque church in Catania, located along Via Etnea, a short distance from the Palace of the University.   SHORT HISTORY In the early Christian centuries, a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Proserpina. In the Byzantine era, the church was dedicated to Madonna dell’Elemosina. The church was rebuilt in the early 18th century, like most of the city of Catania, destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1693. In 1896, Giuseppe Sciuti frescoed the vault and the dome of the church with various paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels and saints.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The project of the church is attributed to Angelo Italia, an Italian architect who lived in the 17th century, who changed the orientation of the building, in order to have it facing Via Etnea. The facade, designed by Stefano Ittar, is a beautiful example of the Sicilian Baroque. The facade has two orders, with six stone columns on the first order, surmounted by a balustrade. On the second order, there is a central window and four large statues of Saint Read more [...]

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    Church of San Placido

    The Church of San Placido is a church in Catania, located in the square of the same name, about 120 meters from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY 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 Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the cathedral of Syracuse, located in Piazza Duomo, in the historical center of the city, on the Ortygia island. The cathedral incorporates parts of a Greek Doric temple dedicated to Athena, which was converted into a church with the advent of Christianity.   SHORT HISTORY During the 5th century BC, the first tyrant of Syracuse, Gelon, built on this site an imposing Doric temple dedicated to Athena, the ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom and warfare. With the advent of Christianity, the temple became the first Christian church in western Europe in the 7th century AD. The Byzantines made significant changes to the Christian structure and, later, the Muslims, after their conquest of Syracuse, transformed it into the main place of Islamic worship in the area. The church became a mosque, undergoing the changes that the Islamic cult required. With the Normans, the city rediscovered Christianity and, therefore, the building resumed its main role as a Syracusan Catholic church. The Normans rebuild the church and gave it a majestic but austere facade. During the terrible earthquake of 1693, that razed to the ground several cities in eastern Sicily, including Read more [...]

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    Church of Santissimo Salvatore

    The Church of Santissimo Salvatore (Most Holy Saviour) is a church in Noto, located between the Cathedral of San Nicolò and the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata. The church is part of a larger complex, along with the Monastery of SS. Salvatore and the Episcopal Seminary.   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the church began in 1767 under the supervision of the architect priest Andrea Gigante, to replace an old church dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. At his death, with the church unfinished, the initial project was partially modified by D. Antonio Mazza, and the church was completed and consecrated in 1802.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The decorative cycle of the interior is one of the most significant examples of the Sicilian cultural transition phase between the late Baroque and Neoclassicism. Began in 1794 and completed two years later, the interior is the result of the pictorial interventions of Ermenegildo Martorana from Palermo and those in stucco of Giovanni Gianforma. Among the frescoes, we can find the Pentecost, Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus and the Appearance of Three Mysterious Men to Abraham. The paintings found on the side altars are also of particular Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata is a beautiful church in Noto, located about 180 meters from the Cathedral of San Nicolò and the Ducezio Palace. Along with the adjacent Convent of the Friars Minor Capuchin, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi to the Immaculate is considered one of the most important religious buildings in Noto.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built between 1704 and 1745, after a design by the architects Vincenzo Sinatra and Rosario Gagliardi.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The harmonious facade of the church, with two orders, stands at the end of an imposing staircase with three ramps. The magnificent portal of the church is flanked by two Baroque columns, with two niches on each side and a smaller one above. On the second order, we can find a beautiful stained glass window. The interior, with a single nave, is rich in paintings and funerary monuments dedicated to members of noble families of Noto. As you enter the church, you can see on your left, inside the vault of the Blessed Inocents (Santi Innocenti), a painting entitled the Massacre of the Innocents, made by Antonino Vizzini in 1706. The vault of B. Andrea Conti Read more [...]

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    Church of Santissimo Crocifisso

    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.   SHORT HISTORY 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. Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Nicolò

    The Cathedral of San Nicolò, dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, is the beautiful Baroque cathedral of Noto, located at the top of a wide staircase, on the northern part of Piazza del Municipio (Town Hall Square).   SHORT HISTORY The construction of the church began in 1694, one year after the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto, which completely destroyed the ancient Noto, located about 8 kilometers north of the current city. The church was completed in 1703, and it was opened for worship in a solemn ceremony. In the second half of the 18th century, the original unfinished facade of the church, built by Rosario Gagliardi, was remodeled by the architect Vincenzo Sinatra, and completed at the end of the 18th century. In the 19th century, a new dome was built to replace the previous one, deteriorated by the earthquakes from the 18th century, giving the cathedral its current appearance. After the earthquake of December 13, 1990, the church suffered some structural damage, but no restoration measures were taken. On the evening of March 13, 1996, due to a serious defect of the pillars of the central nave, the first of the right-hand pylons that supported the dome Read more [...]

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    Church of San Domenico

    The Church of San Domenico, known also as the Church of Santa Maria del Rosario, is a beautiful church in Modica, located near the Town Hall of the city, in Piazza Principe di Napoli. The church is one of the few buildings that remained intact after the earthquake of 1693, which caused over 60,000 deaths and destroyed almost completely nearby cities like Catania, Ragusa, Noto and Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY A first church, with the adjacent Dominican convent, was built on this place in 1461, the year in which the Dominicans settled in Modica. The original church was destroyed by the earthquake of 1613 and was rebuilt in 1678, to survive a few years later the great earthquake of 1693. During the Inquisition, the convent was used as a court in which were judged the ones accused of heresy. Beginning with 1869, the convent became the seat of the Town Hall of Modica.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church has two orders. On the first order, we can find the portal surmounted by a large Dominican coat of arms, and two niches with as many statues. On the second order, there are also two niches housing two statues and Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

    The Church of San Giovanni Evangelista is a church dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist, located in the upper part of Modica, at the top of the Pizzo Hill, in the highest point of the city.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place prior to the 7th century, and dedicated to Saint Peter. Some historical sources claim that the church was the first religious building in Modica. The decision to expand the church appears in a papal bull of Pope Eugene III, from 1150. The church and the adjacent Benedictine convent are also mentioned in a document dated March 1217. In 1454, the convent was demolished, leaving room for a larger church. Around the same time, due to the fact that another church dedicated to Saint Peter was built in the lower part of Modica – the current Duomo di San Pietro, the church on the Pizzo Hill was dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist. After the earthquake of 1542, the church was rebuilt to its current size. Then, after the earthquake of 1693, which seriously damaged the building, the church was rebuilt again, in Baroque style. The works lasted from the first decades of the Read more [...]

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    Duomo di San Pietro

    The Church of San Pietro (Duomo di San Pietro) is a beautiful Baroque church in Modica, dedicated to Saint Peter.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built on this place between 1301 and 1350, but the exact date remains unknown. A document from 1396 signed by the bishop of Syracuse attests its existence. The church was rebuilt starting with 1597 by the will of Pope Clement VIII, and two centuries later, in 1797, by the will of Charles III of Spain, King of Naples and Sicily. Around that time, despite the fact that the city already had a cathedral – the Duomo di San Giorgio, the Church of Saint Peter was declared also a cathedral, becoming the official church of the Counts of Modica. Damaged by the passing of the centuries and the frequent earthquakes in the area, the church was rebuilt several times. However, some parts of it resisted over time, surviving even the earthquake of 1693. One example is the Chapel of Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1620.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE A monumental staircase with the statues of the twelve apostles leads to the church. The facade is divided into two orders, and embellished by Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Giorgio

    The Cathedral of San Giorgio (Duomo di San Giorgio) is the cathedral of Modica, dedicated to Saint George. The church is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is one of the most prominent examples of the Sicilian Baroque.   SHORT HISTORY A first church in Modica dedicated to Saint George was probably built by Roger I of Sicily after the Norman conquest of Sicily, which took place in 1090. The first official document that certifies the presence of the church is a papal bull from 1150, issued by Pope Eugene III. However, the current church is the result of the reconstruction from the 17th century, which took place after the disastrous earthquakes that struck Modica in 1542, in 1613 and, probably the most destructive, in 1693. The structure was designed by the architect Marcello from Palermo, with the laying of the first stone in 1643. The master builder of the church was Carlo D’Amico, also a native of Palermo. The works for the reconstruction of the first order of the facade, which withstood the tremors of the 1693 earthquake, began in 1702 and were completed in 1738. In 1760, the architect Francesco Paolo Labisi from Noto designed the Read more [...]

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    Duomo di San Giorgio

    The Church of San Giorgio, also known as the Duomo di San Giorgio, is a beautiful church in Ragusa Ibla – the ancient center of Ragusa, and one of the most important examples of Baroque architecture in Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY Before the earthquake of 1693, the Church of San Giorgio stood in the eastern part of Ragusa Ibla, near the Hyblean Garden. Today, the only thing left from the ancient church, demolished in 1718, is the Portal of San Giorgio. After the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost entirely the historical center of the town, it was decided to built a new church dedicated to Saint George on the place of the ancient Church of San Nicola. However, the building of Ragusa Superiore – the modern part of the city, developed faster, and the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista, erected in 1694, became the main Catholic church of Ragusa, to the discontent of the inhabitants of Ragusa Ibla. The project of the Church of San Giorgio was commissioned in 1738 to Rosario Gagliardi, an architect of Noto. The first stone was laid on June 28, 1739, as a plaque on the right side of the staircase reminds us, and Read more [...]

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    Church of the Santissimo Trovato

    The Church of the Santissimo Trovato is a church in Ragusa, located near the southern border of Ragusa Ibla, adjacent to the Byzantine wall of the ancient city. The church is very close to the Hyblean Garden and the Portal of San Giorgio.   SHORT HISTORY The church, relatively new, was built between 1801 and 1807 by the will of the local people, on the place where it was found the sacred ciborium stolen from the Church of Sant’Antonio. The ciborium (a covered cup designed to hold the consecrated Eucharistic bread in the Christian church) was stolen on March 1, 1801, by a certain Cassarà, who later was captured and imprisioned. The last restoration of the church dates back to 1988.   ARCHITECTURE The church, with a simple construction, has a portal delimited by pilasters that support a triangular pediment resting on a cornice. A second cornice, slightly higher, is the base of a large window also delimited by pilasters and volutes. The third level is represented by the bell gable. The interior has a single nave and does not offer visitors any particular work of art.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of the Santissimo Trovato is located Read more [...]

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    Church of San Vincenzo Ferreri

    The Church of San Vincenzo Ferreri, also known as the Church of the Madonna del Santissimo Rosario, is a deconsecrated church in Ragusa, located in Piazza Giovan Battista Hodierna, near the entrance of the Giardino Ibleo.   SHORT HISTORY The church was founded in 1509 by the friars of the Dominican Order, who also built, at the same time, an adjacent convent which no longer exists. After the earthquake of 1693, both the facade and the interior were rebuilt. Behind the apse of the church, an oratory used as the seat of the confraternity was also built. The church and the convent underwent major transformations during the 20th century. At the beginning of the century, the oratory was demolished to create the avenue inside the Hyblean Garden, which today connects the Church of San Vincenzo Ferreri to the Church of San Giacomo Apostolo. In 2004, restoration works of the interior and the facade were started. From December 2010, the building, with about 140 seats, was used as a public auditorium, for cultural events and conferences.   ARCHITECTURE It is not known whether the current facade was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 or the today’s facade is the original Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giacomo Apostolo

    The Church of San Giacomo Apostolo (Saint James the Apostle) is a church in Ragusa, located inside the Hyblean Garden (Giardino Ibleo), in the eastern part of Ragusa Ibla, the ancient center of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 13th or 14th century, probably between 1283 and 1392, by the will of the Chiaramonte family – the Aragonese eagle above the high altar indicates that period. The Confraternity of San Giacomo was associated with the church from the beginning, taking care of its services and functions. Before 1693, the church had three naves, but the earthquake of that year ruined it, and a few years later, the confraternity decided to rebuild it with only one nave. The roof of the church was added in 1705 and, between 1719 and 1720, the interior was decorated with several paintings by Giuseppe Pugliarello and Filippo De Stefano. In 1734, the master Simone Ventura of Chiaramonte was comissioned to realize the decoration of the wooden roof. The current facade was built in 1902 by Giuseppe Pinelli. Today, the church is administered by the same Confraternity of Saint James.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade has three orders, of which Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Maria delle Scale

    The Church of Santa Maria delle Scale (Saint Mary of the Steps) is another Baroque church in Ragusa, located at the border between the modern part of the town, Ragusa Superiore, and the ancient center of the city, Ragusa Ibla. The name of the church derives from its location, at the end of the 340 steps that link the two districts of the city.   SHORT HISTORY The church dates back to the Norman period, when it was called Santa Maria delle Cateratte, because it stood on the edge of a ravine. In the 14th century, it was rebuilt in Gothic style by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Santa Maria di Roccadia in Lentini and, after the earthquake of 1693, which caused the central and left aisles to collapse, it was rebuilt in Baroque style. After the earthquake, during the rebuilding, the orientation of the church was changed by 90 degrees, and the primitive apses were transformed into the current portals of the right aisle.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has three naves and no apse, and the left side portal is actually the original main entrance. On the counterfacade, there is a fresco of San Biagio, Read more [...]

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    Church of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

    The Church of the Holy Souls in Purgatory (Chiesa delle Santissime Anime del Purgatorio) is a Baroque church located in Ragusa Ibla, the historical center of Ragusa.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built on the initiative of the Mazza family in the second half of the 17th century, dedicated to all the Saints and the Souls of Purgatory, and opened for worship on May 6, 1658. It was one of the few churches in Ragusa to withstand the earthquake of 1693, an event which caused around 5,000 deaths and destroyed almost entirely the ancient center of the city. In 1729, the church and the whole neighborhood came under the jurisdiction of the Church of San Giorgio. The bell tower was built in the first quarter of the 18th century, separated from the church, and placed above a stretch of the ancient Byzantine walls of Ragusa. In 1740, due to its small size, the church was rebuilt with a basilica plan with three naves, two chapels and a large presbytery with an apse. In 1757, the facade was finished, but the church was reopened for worship only in 1787, after the completion of the works in the presbytery area.   Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista

    The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista is the main catholic church in Ragusa, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. The church is located in the modern part of the town, known as Ragusa Superiore.   SHORT HISTORY A church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, which stood on the western part of Ragusa Ibla, the ancient town of Ragusa, was seriously damaged by the earthquake of 1693. One year later, on April 15, 1694, the church was rebuilt in the center of Ragusa Superiore, the new town of Ragusa. On August 16, the same year, the church was opened for worship. The short time in which the church was built indicates that the first building was small and inadequate for the needs of the new expanding city district. Therefore, in 1718, a new larger church was begun, under the direction of two architects from Acireale, Giuseppe Recupero and Giovanni Arcidiacono. The new church was solemnly consecrated on May 31, 1778, a ceremony led by the bishop of Syracuse, Giovanni Battista Alagona. In 1783, the dome was built, and covered on the outside with copper foils at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1848, the paving was renewed with stone Read more [...]

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    Church of Our Lady of Remedies

    The Church of Our Lady of Remedies (Chiesa della Madonna dei Rimedi) and the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites (Carmelitani Scalzi) is a religious complex built in Baroque style, located in Piazza dell’Indipendenza, in Palermo.   SHORT HISTORY During the campaign of the Norman reconquest of Sicily, held between 1064 and 1072, the lighting of fires, suggested in a dream by the Virgin, proved to be an excellent remedy to drive away the annoying insects that weakened the troops. In 1072, after the conquest of Palermo, Roger I of Sicily, nicknamed The Great Count, as a sign of gratitude for the victory, built a primitive church dedicated to Santa Maria dei Rimedi. The current structure was born five centuries later, in 1609, after the arrival of Father Domenico, called to Palermo by the Viceroy of Sicily Juan Manuel Fernández Pacheco and Zúñiga, Marquis of Vigliena. The Convent of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites was built around the same time, under the title of Santa Maria dei Rimedi, one of the first Carmelite institutions of Palermo, and today one of the most important convents of the Discalced Carmelites in Italy. The construction of the complex continued with the help of Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta

    The Cathedral of Palermo is a magnificent church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, located in the historical center of Palermo. Since July 3, 2015, the Cathedral is a UNESCO World heritage site, part of the Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale, a series of nine structures dating from the era of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily.   SHORT HISTORY A first church was built in the area in the fourth century. The building is mentioned in a papal bull of Pope Leo the Great in 444 and in a letter to the Sicilian clergy of 447. In 592, the Bishop Vittore demolishes the church and promotes its reconstruction according to the Byzantine canons. A second church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is built on the ruins of the previous one in 604. Between 831 and 1072, during the Arab domination of Palermo, the church was transformed into a mosque. Following the Norman conquest of the city, in 1072, the mosque was converted back to a Christian church. The earthquake of February 4, 1169, seriously damaged the bell tower and the upper part of the facade. Interpreted as a divine punishment Read more [...]

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    Church of San Giuseppe

    The Church of San Giuseppe is a beautiful church in Taormina, dedicated to Saint Joseph. The church, built in Baroque style in the second half of the 17th century, stands near the famous Torre dell’Orologio, dominating the main square of the town, Piazza IX Aprile.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built after 1650 as the seat of the Confraternity of the Souls in Purgatory. On the facade of the church and also inside, there are numerous references to the confraternity: inscriptions, coats of arms, details of sculptures, bas-reliefs, mottos and allegorical figures. In 1919, the church was given to the Fathers of the Salesian Order, present in Taormina since 1911. The order enriched the church with new sculptures and thematic frescoes. In Autumn 2015, water infiltrations and humidity caused by heavy rain determined the collapse of the ceiling, and the church was closed for consolidation and restoration works. After the restoration, the church was reopened for worship.   ARCHITECTURE A majestic double staircase leads to the church, and both the stairs and the porch in front of the building are fenced with a magnificent stone balustrade. The facade has a large central portal that leads into the church, and Read more [...]

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    Church of the Holy Spirit

    The Church of the Holy Spirit (Chiesa dello Spirito Santo) is a Baroque church located on the seafront of the Ortygia island, in Syracuse.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1727, during the Spanish domination of Sicily, by the architect Pompeo Picherali. The church stands on the site of the ancient First Church of Syracuse, built in the 4th century by the Bishop Germano and damaged by the earthquakes of 1542 and 1693.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, built in Baroque style, has three orders separated by scrolls and marked by pilasters, surmounted by a three-eyed bell-gable. The whole facade from white limestone is a continuous play of shapes, rich in decorations, with Corinthian elements. The church is the only one in Syracuse with an external dome. The dome has a diameter of 8 meters and is also in Baroque style The interior of the church has a Latin cross plan with three aisles. The vaults are decorated with frescoes and stucco. Unfortunately, today, the church is in poor condition, due to the numerous water infiltrations from the roof. The majestic pipe organ is in complete abandon and the stuccos and frescoes on the roof are Read more [...]

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    Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia

    The Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia is a church dedicated to the patron saint of Syracuse, Saint Lucia, located in Piazza Duomo, on the beautiful island of Ortygia. In this church, every year in May, the Feast of Santa Lucia delle Quaglie is held, to celebrate the miracle of 1646.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built between 1695 and 1703 after a project by the architect Luciano Caracciolo, on the site of a monastery from the 15th century, which was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Originally, the facade overlooked Via Picherali, but now it’s facing the main square of the city, Piazza Duomo. The structure of the church was heavily damaged during the Second World War, and a restoration took place in the 20th century. The flooring of the nave was replaced in 1970, as it was severely damaged due to humidity.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade is entirely built of light limestone and is divided in two orders by a wrought iron balcony. The balcony is not the original one, which was dismantled during the Second World War. The sumptuous portal of the church built in Baroque style is flanked by twisted columns and Read more [...]

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    Cathedral of the Transfiguration

    The Cathedral of the Transfiguration is the Cathedral of Cefalù, dedicated to the Most Holy Saviour (Santissimo Salvatore). The church, built in Romanesque style, dominates the skyline of the medieval town with its fortress-like appearance.   SHORT HISTORY The Cathedral of Cefalù was built by Roger II of Altavilla, King of Sicily, Puglia and Calabria, in the year 1131. According to legend, the king, traveling by ship from Salerno to Palermo, came across a storm, and vowed to build a church there, after he landed safe on the city’s beach. The work began with the laying of the foundation stone on Sunday, June 7, the day of Pentecost, in the year 1131. The king was present at the ceremony, along with the Archbishop of Messina Ugone and the Sicilian nobility. In 1145, the church was established as the mausoleum of the royal family of Altavilla, but the will of Roger II was never fulfilled, because he died suddenly on February 28, 1154, in Palermo, and was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral of Palermo. At the death of Roger II, only the presbytery area of the church was completed, and in the following years the interest moved to the Read more [...]