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.

One city, three sites

The chocolate of Modica

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The Staircase of Angels

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

A triumph of colour

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

A museum to save a tradition

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

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

One city, two sites

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

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

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

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

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

An eagle-shaped city

St. Sebastian, so much work!

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

A feast only for Scicli

From International Gothic to present day

The wall comes to life

Norman apses

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

The internal colours

New roads for Catania

Searching for colour

A Nobel Prize in Modica

Between white and black

The theatre of taste

A talking palace

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

A symbol for the town

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

The Burgos crucifix

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

The interior and its masterpieces

The city of museums

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

The Baroque town by the sea

Feast days

Connections with other UNESCO sites

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

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

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

Many owners, one palace

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

Wonderful quick decorations

The colours of the cathedral

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

A new site for a new city

The disastrous earthquake

A small room with a golden entrance

Feasting in Palazzolo

A prominent church

Two illustrious patron saints

Some masterpieces

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The two churches

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

A half-Baroque church

Discovering the mother church

The Maiolica of the staircase

A new site for a new church

Prominent façade

A square as the heart of the city

A hall for the feasts

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

A city in colour

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

A miniature city

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

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

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

A long reconstruction

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

A colourful floor

A majestic and luminous church

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

Modica, a city with ancient origins

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Some prestigious works

The church of Carmine

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

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra