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.
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, but it was immediately rebuilt. On this occasion, many structures of the 18th and 19th centuries were demolished, freeing the space around the church.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
The interior of the church displays the renovations of the Aragonese period, to which the wooden ceiling with painted beams belongs, and the renovations carried out in the first decades of the 17th century, when the pillars were replaced and the choirs attributable to Giovanni Vermexio were added.
Located near the right pillar of the presbytery, there is the column of the martyrdom of Saint Lucia, a motif that is also repeated in the decoration of the church.
Behind the altar, we can find the large canvas of the Burial of Saint Lucia painted in 1608 by Caravaggio. For many years, the canvas was kept in the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, until it was returned to its place of origin on December 6, 2020.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Santa Lucia Extra Moenia is located in the Santa Lucia district, about 1.5 kilometers away from the Syracuse railway station. To find the church on foot, use the map below.
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