Militello in Val di Catania

A new site for a new church

The chiesa madre di San Nicolò e del Santissimo Salvatore (Mother Church of St. Nicholas and the Holy Saviour) is located on the corner of Via Umberto I and Via Matrice.
It is the result of a long and complex reconstruction following the earthquake of 1693.
Three years after the earthquake the Bishop of Syracuse, on a visit to Militello, ordered the construction of the new church and it was here that problems began. The citizens were divided between those who wanted to rebuild the church in the same place and those who wanted to rebuild it on a safer site; it took 28 years before a definitive location was found.
The foundation stone was laid on 6 December 1721 at the new site, where the present church is located today.
At this point, the reconstruction work was fairly quick: on 20 March 1740, when the church was blessed, the central and lateral naves were almost complete; around 1750, the façade designed by the architect Girolamo Palazzotto was finished; in 1765, the bell tower designed by the architect Francesco Battaglia , from Catania was added, which was joined by the bells and clock eleven years later.
The bell tower on the right was the only one built, thus breaking up the symmetry of the façade. The church was built with the help of many benefactors including the Marquis Nicolò Placido Branciforte and the Abbot Malacria.

The church of San Nicolò and the Most Holy Saviour
The church of San Nicolò and the Most Holy Saviour has an elevated entrance with respect to the road level and can be reached through two side staircases that have twenty-seven steps. The facade is divided horizontally into three levels: the first includes the large central portal, inserted between two pairs of columns and which is closed over by a broken arched tympanum; the two side doors, called “of the sun” and “of the moon”, are surmounted by a window; the second order has in the center a large window with a triangular tympanum on top; the third order, finally, closes the structure, has the shape of a broken arched tympanum and on the top there is a cross supported by a head of cherub. On the right side of the facade is the only bell tower, the left one was not built and the symmetry of the facade is broken.
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Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

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Prominent façade

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Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

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Two illustrious patron saints

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Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

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The Burgos crucifix

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Wonderful quick decorations

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A talking palace

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The internal colours

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Feast days

The disastrous earthquake

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A long reconstruction

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The wall comes to life

A colourful floor

A small room with a golden entrance

A miniature city

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A majestic and luminous church

The theatre of taste

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

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Connections with other UNESCO sites

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Norman apses

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Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

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