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 Syracuse. The church is the place where is held, every year in May, the Feast of Santa Lucia delle Quaglie, to celebrate the miracle of 1646 which occurred right here.
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 the street 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 surmounted by an arched pediment with the emblem of the martyrdom of Saint Lucia. The emblem is repeated twice on the facade, perhaps to make it visible from different points of view. On the two side pediments, there are the coats of arms of the kings of Spain.
The interior consists of a single wide rectangular nave decorated by four Baroque altars of 1705, closed by the presbytery surmounted by a dome.
In the apse, behind the high altar, there is the large painting of the Burial of Saint Lucia painted in 1608 by Caravaggio. The painting, originally placed on the altar of the Church of Santa Lucia al Sepolcro, after a series of restorations, was brought to the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia.
HOW TO GET THERE
The church is situated in Piazza Duomo, on the Ortygia island, about 1.8 kilometers from the Syracuse train station, or about 25 minutes on foot. To find it easily, use the map below.