The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the cathedral of Syracuse, located 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 place 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 most of Syracuse, 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. Discover below one of the most important churches in Syracuse, Sicily.
The Church of the Holy Spirit (Chiesa dello Spirito Santo) is a beautiful 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 affected 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-mullioned window. 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 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. 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 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 Read more [...]