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 half-Baroque church

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

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

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

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Norman apses

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

An eagle-shaped city

The theatre of taste

A symbol for the town

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

A museum to save a tradition

Searching for colour

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

The city of museums

Many owners, one palace

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The colours of the cathedral

The Baroque town by the sea

A talking palace

The Maiolica of the staircase

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

The Burgos crucifix

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

Some prestigious works

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

Two illustrious patron saints

The disastrous earthquake

A feast only for Scicli

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

Some masterpieces

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

A new site for a new church

One city, two sites

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

The internal colours

New roads for Catania

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

The two churches

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

St. Sebastian, so much work!

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

A city in colour

A prominent church

A hall for the feasts

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

Modica, a city with ancient origins

The façade used as a puppet theatre

The wall comes to life

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

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

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The interior and its masterpieces

A long reconstruction

Discovering the mother church

One city, three sites

A miniature city

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

A new site for a new city

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

Between white and black

The church of Carmine

A Nobel Prize in Modica

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

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

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

A colourful floor

Connections with other UNESCO sites

Wonderful quick decorations

The Staircase of Angels

From International Gothic to present day

A triumph of colour

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

A small room with a golden entrance

A majestic and luminous church

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

Prominent façade

A square as the heart of the city

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

Feasting in Palazzolo

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

Limestone, the colour of harmony

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

The chocolate of Modica

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

Feast days

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