Tag: Baroque in Catania

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    Cathedral of Sant’Agata

    The Cathedral of Sant’Agata is the Cathedral of Catania, dedicated to the martyr Saint Agatha, located in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo.   SHORT HISTORY The church had a tumultuous history, being repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt after the earthquakes occurred in the area. A first church was built around 1086 on the ruins of the Achilliane Baths dating back to Roman times. On February 4, 1169, an earthquake completely destroyed the ceiling of the church, killing many people gathered in the Cathedral. In 1194, under the reign of Henry VI, a fire caused considerable damage to the structure. In 1693, the terrible earthquake of Val di Noto destroyed the Cathedral almost completely, leaving only the apse and the facade. The bell tower was also put to the ground. The reconstruction of the church was made during the 18th century. The current building is the work of the architect Girolamo Palazzotto, who is responsible for the interior, while Giovanni Battista Vaccarini designed the facade, which was built between 1734 and 1761. In 1857, the bell tower was completed, and the current layout of the churchyard was built in the 19th century.   ARCHITECTURE The facade of the Read more [...]

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    Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata

    The Church of San Francesco d’Assisi all’Immacolata is a church in Catania, located in Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi, about 300 meters away from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, this site housed a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. In 1254, the Franciscan Order settled in Catania, near the Church of San Michele, adjacent to the Ursino Castle. In 1260, the Franciscan friars moved to the current place, where the old Church of Speranza stood. In 1329, Eleanor of Anjou, Queen of Sicily and the wife of King Frederick II of Aragon, promoted the construction of a convent and church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi. Eleanor of Anjou was buried here in 1343. In 1693, the terrible eartquake of Val di Noto destroyed the church almost completely, and the structure was rebuilt in Baroque style in the following century.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The small churchyard is preceded by a staircase of Etna lava stone, with a wrought iron gate and a balustrade with four pillars that support the imposing statues of San Giuseppe da Copertino, Sant’Agata, Santa Chiara d’Assisi and San Bonaventura. The facade of the church, built around 1854, is decorated by Read more [...]

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    Palazzo Tezzano

    Palazzo Tezzano is a Baroque palace in Catania, located in Piazza Stesicoro, near the Roman Amphitheater of Catania and the Church of San Biagio.   SHORT HISTORY Palazzo Tezzano was built starting with 1709 on a project by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, at the behest of the count and physician Niccolò Tezzano. Later, the count donated the palace to the city of Catania, and the building was transformed into a hospital between 1720 and 1727. In 1837, due to the economic difficulties of the hospital, a part of the palace was rented by the Bourbon Intendency Office, to house its archive. A few years later, around 1844, some sections of the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Criminal Chancellery were also installed in the palace. The hospital was transferred between 1878 and 1880 in a building adjacent to the Church of San Nicolò l’Arena, and changed its name to Vittorio Emanuele II Hospital. After the transfer of the hospital, Palazzo Tezzano remained the seat of the Court until the construction of the new headquarters in Piazza Giovanni Verga, completed and inaugurated in 1953. The palace currently houses the Ceramographic Archive of the University of Catania, consisting of thousands of reproductions Read more [...]

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    Piazza del Duomo

    Piazza del Duomo is the main square of Catania, located at the intersection of three important roads – Via Etnea, the historical axis of the city, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi and Via Vittorio Emanuele II.   ARCHITECTURE On the eastern side of the square, stands the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, Duomo di Catania, from which the square takes its name. The Cathedral was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693, and was rebuilt in the 18th century by the architect Girolamo Palazzotto, with the facade designed by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. In 1857, the bell tower of the Cathedral was completed, and the current layout of the churchyard appeared in the 19th century. To the south of the square, there is Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici, a Baroque palace rebuilt after the earthquake of Val di Noto, in the first decades of the 18th century, by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, and subsequently enlarged in 1757 by Francesco Battaglia. Between the Palace of the Seminary of the Clerics and the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, there is Porta Uzeda, which connects the two buildings mentioned above, beeing also the southern entrance to the square. The Uzeda Gate was named after the Spanish viceroy of Sicily Juan Read more [...]

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    Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici

    Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici (Palace of the Seminary of the Clerics) is a Baroque palace in Catania, located across the Piazza Duomo from the Palazzo degli Elefanti, near the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, on the site of the present palace, there was the ancient structure of the Bishop’s Palace. In 1572, the archbishop Antonio Faraone founded the seminary of the clerics, and some rooms of the palace were reserved for this institution. Beginning with 1614, Bonaventura Secusio, Bishop of Catania between 1609 and 1618, established the seminary headquarters in the building. On May 29, 1647, during the anti-Spanish revolt of Catania, the palace was severely damaged. In 1693, the building was completely destroyed by the earthquake of Val di Noto. In the first decades of the 18th century, the palace was rebuilt by the architect Alonzo di Benedetto, and subsequently enlarged in 1757 by Francesco Battaglia. In 1866, the architect Mario Di Stefano further expanded the structure, by building the second floor. Beginning with 1943, due to the Second World War, the seminarians left the building, which was later damaged by bombing. In 1944, the palace was acquired by the Municipality of Catania, Read more [...]

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    Palazzo degli Elefanti

    Palazzo degli Elefanti (Palace of the Elephants), formerly known as Palazzo del Senato, is a Baroque palace in Catania, located in Piazza Duomo, close to the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. The name of the palace derives from the numerous elephants carved on its facade.   SHORT HISTORY During the Aragonese period, the palace, called Palazzo Senatorio, served as a municipal archive. The city representatives gathered in the palace and, sometimes, also the parliament assembled within its walls. Lope Ximénez de Urrea y de Bardaixi, Viceroy of Sicily between 1443 and 1475, ordered that all the official documents of the Kingdom and the various writings related to the Aragonese sovereigns to be collected and kept in the archives of the palace. After the earthquake of 1693, which destroyed almost completely the city of Catania, numerous architects participated in the reconstruction of the palace. The original project was carried out by Giovan Battista Longobardo, with the collaboration of Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, who built the east, south and west facades, and of Carmelo Battaglia, who designed the north facade. The grand staircase found in the inner courtyard of the palace was built in the 19th century by Stefano Ittar. On December 14, 1944, following Read more [...]

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    Basilica della Collegiata

    Basilica della Collegiata, also known as Basilica Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina, is a Baroque church in Catania, located along Via Etnea, a short distance from the Palace of the University.   SHORT HISTORY In the early Christian centuries, a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Proserpina. In the Byzantine era, the church was dedicated to Madonna dell’Elemosina. The church was rebuilt in the early 18th century, like most of the city of Catania, destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1693. In 1896, Giuseppe Sciuti frescoed the vault and the dome of the church with various paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary, angels and saints.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The project of the church is attributed to Angelo Italia, an Italian architect who lived in the 17th century, who changed the orientation of the building, in order to have it facing Via Etnea. The facade, designed by Stefano Ittar, is a beautiful example of the Sicilian Baroque. The facade has two orders, with six stone columns on the first order, surmounted by a balustrade. On the second order, there is a central window and four large statues of Saint Read more [...]

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    Church of San Placido

    The Church of San Placido is a church in Catania, located in the square of the same name, about 120 meters from the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY The original structure of the church dates back to 1409, and was built on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Bacchus. The church was razed to the ground by the catastrophic earthquake of 1693, which almost completely destroyed the city of Catania. On the initiative of three nuns who escaped the ruins of the church, the reconstruction, entrusted to the architect Stefano Ittar, began shortly after the earthquake. The new church was consecrated in 1723 and completed in 1769. In 1976, the church was closed due to structural problems and, after about three years of consolidation, it was reopened for worship in 1979.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, in Sicilian Baroque style, is made of white Taormina stone. On each side of the portal, there are the statues of saints Placido and Benedetto, and above, on the second order, smaller, those of the saints Scolastica and Geltrude, work of the sculptor Carmelo Distefano. The facade, concave in the center, is enclosed by a convex Read more [...]

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    Porta Garibaldi

    Porta Garibaldi (Garibaldi Gate), called also Porta Ferdinandea, in honor of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies, is a triumphal arch located at the western end of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, between Piazza Palestro and Piazza Crocifisso, in Catania. Through the gate, it can be seen in the distance, at the other end of Via Garibaldi, the wonderful Cathedral of Sant’Agata.   SHORT HISTORY In ancient times, the gates to a city were very important, from the defense point of view. The gates were, in fact, the last barrier against a possible siege. The walls that surrounded Catania were built starting with 1541, on the initiative of the Viceroy Giovanni Vega. In 1621, there were seven gates, and three more were added later. The first seven gates were built for defensive purposes, while the other three had only an ornamental function. One of the last three gates was Porta Ferdinandea, built in 1768 to celebrate the marriage between Ferdinand I of The Two Sicilies and Maria Carolina of Austria. The gate was designed by the architects Stefano Ittar and Francesco Battaglia. Another name of the gate is Porta del Fortino, which comes from a fort built by the Viceroy Claudio Read more [...]