Catania

Reconstruction after the earthquake

The 1693 earthquake destroyed the church and forced Bishop Riggio to order its reconstruction.
The first task was entrusted to the Capuchin friar Girolamo Palazzotto who began work in 1709, choosing to reuse the structures that had remained standing, i.e. the three Norman apses and the transept.
In 1729, Palermo-born Pietro Galletti was appointed bishop, and decided to entrust the supervision of the work to the abbot architect  Giovanni Battista Vaccarini .
Vaccarini made great changes to the façade and the side elevation on Via Vittorio Emanuele, where he inserted a portal from 1577 belonging to the previous destroyed church.

La cattedrale di Sant'Agata fil di ferro
La cattedrale di Sant’Agata si affaccia su l’ampia piazza Duomo dominandola con la sua imponente facciata scenografica. Per accedere alla chiesa è necessario superare la breve scalinata d’ingresso delimitata dalla cancellata in ferro battuto e superare il sagrato. La facciata è suddivisa in tre piani orizzontali che si restringono verso l’alto. La fascia più basse, il primo ordine, è scandito verticalmente da sei alte colonne. Queste sono intervallate dai tre portali di ingresso, di cui quello centrale è il più grande ed è sormontato da un timpano curvo. La seconda fascia è scandita da sei colonnine ravvicinate e al centro presenta in una nicchia la statua di Sant’Agata con lo sguardo rivolto al cielo. L’ultima fascia è scandita da quattro colonnine e un timpano triangolare.
La cattedrale di Sant’Agata
La cattedrale di Sant’Agata si affaccia su l’ampia piazza Duomo dominandola con la sua imponente facciata scenografica. Per accedere alla chiesa è necessario superare la breve scalinata d’ingresso delimitata dalla cancellata in ferro battuto e superare il sagrato. La facciata è suddivisa in tre piani orizzontali che si restringono verso l’alto. La fascia più basse, il primo ordine, è scandito verticalmente da sei alte colonne. Queste sono intervallate dai tre portali di ingresso, di cui quello centrale è il più grande ed è sormontato da un timpano curvo. La seconda fascia è scandita da sei colonnine ravvicinate e al centro presenta in una nicchia la statua di Sant’Agata con lo sguardo rivolto al cielo. L’ultima fascia è scandita da quattro colonnine e un timpano triangolare.

statua di sant'Agata nella nicchiaThe design for the façade was highly criticised despite its obvious architectural qualities.
It was completed between 1730 and 1761, with the aim of adapting the building to the new Baroque style.
The architect designed a three-level elevation with vertical tension, with the image of St. Agatha in the centre inside a niche. Here, Baroque is expressed in all its grandeur: the trabeation that divides the three levels “moves” angularly, breaking up around each capital, creating a movement and depth emphasised by the richness of the marble and the 14 granite columns detached from the façade.
The project was finally completed by Battaglia who built the dome, and in the 19th century the bell tower was rebuilt.

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