Catania

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The work of the Benedictines not only followed religious and charitable commitments, but scientific undertakings, too. The monastery’s first collection of books was probably created at its foundation and used exclusively by the monks. The monks also followed strict Benedictine rule through the study of literature and science.
They established relations with the city’s cultural institutions and acquired important collections over the centuries.
There were around 24,000 volumes of rare, ancient and modern manuscripts and parchments; the monks were great connoisseurs and disseminators of ancient knowledge. After the eruption of 1669 and the earthquake of 1693 the monastery suffered great losses but the monks managed to save part of the collection, which they kept until the library was rebuilt.
The construction of the library’s new main hall was entrusted to Vaccarini, who designed it with typical elements from late Baroque art.
In fact, the giant central plan hall, the “Sala Vaccarini” (Vaccarini Hall), is an important room covered almost completely by wooden bookshelves in order that nearly reach the decorated vault, placed between the round windows that illuminate the room.
In addition to the hall there were five other sumptuous rooms used for the Benedictine Museum and designed to closely match the library. Today the former museum rooms are home to the library’s reference and reading rooms.

A Nobel Prize in Modica

One city, two sites

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Discovering the mother church

The city of museums

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

St. Sebastian, so much work!

New roads for Catania

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The two churches

A symbol for the town

A city in colour

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

An eagle-shaped city

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

A feast only for Scicli

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

A hall for the feasts

The church of Carmine

A square as the heart of the city

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Modica, a city with ancient origins

A majestic and luminous church

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

Searching for colour

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

The senses tell the story of the church of Santa Maria del Carmelo

Some prestigious works

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

Wonderful quick decorations

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

A museum to save a tradition

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

The senses tell the story of the Badia di Sant’Agata

Two illustrious patron saints

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

The senses tell the Mother Church of San Nicolò and of the Santissimo Salvatore

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

A talking palace

The chocolate of Modica

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

The Burgos crucifix

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giovanni Battista

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

One city, three sites

A colourful floor

A new site for a new city

The internal colours

A prominent church

Some masterpieces

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

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

A miniature city

A triumph of colour

A small room with a golden entrance

From International Gothic to present day

A long reconstruction

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The interior and its masterpieces

The Maiolica of the staircase

Many owners, one palace

The Staircase of Angels

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

The senses tell the story of the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte

The theatre of taste

The wall comes to life

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

Between white and black

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giuliano ai Crociferi

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

A new site for a new church

The disastrous earthquake

A half-Baroque church

Feast days

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The Baroque town by the sea

Norman apses

Feasting in Palazzolo

Freedom of worship and the role of the Catholic Church in the diffusion of Baroque

Prominent façade

Limestone, the colour of harmony

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

The colours of the cathedral

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and San NicoIò l’Arena

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci