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 with a palm branch and a sword. The pilasters delimiting the niche, also with external volutes, support two herms. Above, there is the central window surmounted by a triangular tympanum. The symmetry on the left side of the facade is interrupted by the presence of a small bell-gable.
The high altar, dedicated to Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, consists of a monumental marble table in Baroque style. Leaning against the wall on high plinths decorated with acanthus leaves, there are pairs of twisted stucco columns surmounted by a broken arched tympanum with a crowned coat of arms.
In a large arched niche, there is the painting depicting the Martyrdom of Santa Caterina, the work of Jacopo Vignerio of the 16th century. The painting has a wooden frame with golden columns and architrave, surmounted by a lunette depicting the Eternal Father surrounded by little angels.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria is located about 100 meters away from Porta Messina, the main entrance to the historical center of Taormina, which is entirely pedestrian. To find the church on foot, use the map below.