A long reconstruction

The church of Santa Chiara (St. Claire) is located in the eastern part of the town on Via Giovanni Bosco, not far from the church of Gesù (Jesus).
Legend has it that it was St. Claire who had both the church and monastery built. Unfortunately, nothing has been preserved of the ancient structures.
The earthquake of 1693 damaged both buildings. Reconstruction was not immediate, but had to wait until 1740. In that year the abbess explained to the Bishop of Syracuse, Matteo Trigona, that it was necessary to intervene since the state and condition of the structures were badly damaged. The Bishop commissioned a group of experts to oversee the reconstruction, but money soon ran out.
Everything changed in 1743, when the Bishop announced that the works would resume during his visit to Caltagirone.
The project was entrusted to one of the best architects of the time, Rosario Gagliardi .
A church was built with a plan in the shape of an irregular octagon, with a narrow, long façade that swelled outwards like a sort of belly.
The façade also has only one entrance door enclosed at the sides by two giant order columns and on top by a tympanum , not with a continuous line, but a broken one.
Inside, the splendid maiolica , flooring is striking. Green, blue and yellow accompany worshippers up to the balustrade, which is also made with maiolica tiles from Caltagirone.
foto prospetto foto Facciata dettaglio timpano edicola foto Dettagli della decorazione

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Connections with other UNESCO sites

A half-Baroque church

Two illustrious patron saints

One city, three sites

A city in colour

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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Many owners, one palace

From International Gothic to present day

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Feast days

A square as the heart of the city

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

A small room with a golden entrance

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The role of the religious orders in rebuilding the Val di Noto

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

A symbol for the town

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The interior and its masterpieces

One city, two sites

Church of San Giuliano (St. Julian) on Via dei Crociferi: reconstruction

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

An eagle-shaped city

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

St. Sebastian, so much work!

A new site for a new church

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A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

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Some prestigious works

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The two churches

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The colours of the cathedral

A long reconstruction

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A colourful floor

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Prominent façade

Wonderful quick decorations

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A Nobel Prize in Modica

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The wall comes to life

The Maiolica of the staircase

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A hall for the feasts

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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A new site for a new city

The Burgos crucifix

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Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

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Norman apses

The internal colours

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Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

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Some masterpieces

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From the contrast of the exterior to the internal jubilation of colours

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

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From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

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Searching for colour

The disastrous earthquake

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

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Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The Staircase of Angels

Between white and black

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

A miniature city

The church of Carmine

The theatre of taste

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family