Catania

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

smell
Odours and aromas from the kitchens

Try to imagine the smells coming from the basement kitchens that rose to the upper floors and the spaces connected to the two refectories.
One of these spaces used to prepare rich dishes is home to the prodigious 18th-century fireplace hood named “il fornetto” (the little oven), built atop the ancient lava flow of 1669.
The kitchen was one of the most important rooms for monastery life, a sort of factory that fed a large number of monks, like a small world of its own inside the colossal monastery.

touch
Lava and marble

One of the most characteristic elements of the Benedictine monastery is, without a doubt, the strong two-tone colour of the main materials used to build it.
Try to touch a marble column on the staircase then one of the lava stone steps leading to the library, and you’ll immediately notice how different they are.
If you touched them you would feel an immediate difference between the two materials: the marble is smooth with no superficial imperfections, while the lava stone is porous and rough.

hearing
Singing and prayer

The life of the Benedictine monks followed the strict rule of Ora et Labora (Pray and Work).
The days were organised into a series of activities: prayer, work and study.
Nor were the monks exempt from prayer at night or early in the morning; they gathered in the night-time chapel, the “night choir”, and sang choruses and prayers to the Lord.

sight
Wow, the colours!

When you think of a kitchen, somewhere clean and full of food, pots and spoons comes to mind. Perhaps for normal, trivial kitchens… because for the monastery kitchen the first thing that comes to mind are the colours of the floor and central structure; a triumph of white, blue, yellow, green and orange.

taste
Bon Appetit!

The kitchen prepared tasty lunches and dinners every day.
In particular, the New Year’s lunch in 1785 had a delicious menu. Shrimp, swordfish and a soup of pasta and fish were prepared as first courses; cod and sunfish with a herb and anchovy sauce were served for the second course, followed by cabbage with tuna and eggs.
The dinner ended with a custard, accompanied by some fruit to finish, in this case apple.
With such a respectable lunch, tasty and rich in every food, you could say the monks were not lacking in anything at all!

A hall for the feasts

A square as the heart of the city

The city of museums

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

A small room with a golden entrance

The colours of the cathedral

One city, two sites

Limestone, the colour of harmony

A Nobel Prize in Modica

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

A museum to save a tradition

The chocolate of Modica

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

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

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

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The interior and its masterpieces

A prominent church

The disastrous earthquake

Discovering the mother church

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

A majestic and luminous church

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The theatre of taste

Prominent façade

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

Connections with other UNESCO sites

Searching for colour

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

From International Gothic to present day

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The wall comes to life

A talking palace

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

A triumph of colour

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The church of Carmine

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

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

Some masterpieces

A city in colour

A feast only for Scicli

A new site for a new city

The façade used as a puppet theatre

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

St. Sebastian, so much work!

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

Norman apses

A symbol for the town

A long reconstruction

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

One city, three sites

A miniature city

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

Feast days

The Burgos crucifix

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The internal colours

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

The Staircase of Angels

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

Between white and black

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

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

Wonderful quick decorations

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The Baroque town by the sea

New roads for Catania

Feasting in Palazzolo

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

Two illustrious patron saints

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

Many owners, one palace

A new site for a new church

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

Modica, a city with ancient origins

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

The two churches

A half-Baroque church

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

A colourful floor

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

The Maiolica of the staircase

Some prestigious works

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

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

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

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

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

An eagle-shaped city

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph