The Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari is the Cathedral of Taormina (Duomo di Taormina). The church is located in Piazza Duomo, along Corso Umberto, near Porta Catania, in the historical center of Taormina.
Due to the external fortification elements, the church is also known as the Cathedral Fortress.
The first cathedral of Taormina was the primitive Church of San Francesco di Paola. Starting with 962, during the muslim rule of the town, the Christian worship was prohibited, and following the Norman conquest of Taormina, in 1078, the town lost its bishopric.
The construction of the current Cathedral, with the layout and characteristics of a fortress, dates back to the 13th century. The Cathedral was built in Sicilian Romanesque-Gothic style over the remains of a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra (also known as Nicolas of Bari).
The Cathedral was partially rebuilt during the 15th century, and the Renaissance style portals were added at the beginning of the 16th century.
The church was remodeled in the 17th century with the addition of the Baroque portal on the main facade, and the construction of the chapels in the side apses.
Between 1945 and 1948, the Neapolitan architect Armando Dillon directed the restoration of the church by bringing to light the primitive structures of the arches of the apse concealed by Baroque stuccos, and also restoring the terrace roofs on the side aisles.
The facade of the church is characterized by crown battlements, while on the back stands the bastion tower on which the bells were placed in 1750. The main portal restored in 1936, and the large Renaissance-inspired central rose window are of considerable value.
The main portal in Baroque style is delimited by two Corinthian-style fluted columns resting on high plinths, surmounted by an architrave with a broken tympanum. The portal located on the western wall of the Cathedral dates back to the 15th century, while the portal on the eastern wall was built in the 16th century.
Inside, the structure is simple, in the form of a Latin cross, with three naves and three apses. The central nave is supported by six columns of pink Taormina marble with capitals with leaf motifs and fish scales. The ceiling is characterized by large wooden beams carved with Arabic motifs.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Cathedral of San Nicolò di Bari is located about 700 meters away from Porta Messina, the main entrance to the town, and about 110 meters away from Porta Catania. Because the historical center of Taormina is entirely pedestrian, you can reach the church only on foot, both from Porta Messina and Porta Catania.
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