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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]