Catania

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and the Church of San Nicolò l’Arena

smell
Odours from the kitchens

foto della macchina della cappaTry 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 features of the Benedictine monastery is undoubtedly the strong two-tone effect given by its main materials.
If we tried to touch a marble column and a lava stone base, we would immediately notice how they are different to the touch: the cold sensation, the porosity and the polishing.

hearing
Songs and music

The life of the Benedictine monks was marked by the strict rule of Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work), which meant dividing the day between prayer, work and study.
The entire monastery, but especially the courtyards and the church with the large organ, would have been pervaded by the singing of the monks.

sight
The red room in the Monastery’s cellars

The red room is a charming circular room located in the cellars of the Benedictine monastery which today houses the Museo della Fabbrica (Museum of Construction).
As you enter this room, the last one along the museum route, you find yourself beneath a unique red iron construction.
The magnificent structure, designed by surveyor Antonino Leonardi, is a self-supporting attic characterised by an original and contemporary shape.

taste
The room of conviviality: the large refectory

The large refectory now houses the University auditorium, but was once where the monks ate their meals.
The Rule of St. Benedict also dictated some rules in this case.
For example, meals were always to be eaten at the appointed time and in silence, though many drawings and writings of the time document that the monks’ dining was rather lavish.

A heritage of votive works

Palazzo della Cancelleria: from former stable to the Nicastro family

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The senses tell about Palazzo Beneventano

San Domenico and Gagliardi’s work

Fountain of the Nymph Zizza: public water in the town

Militello: The story of an enlightened fiefdom

Altars, saints and sculptural works

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

The senses tell the story of the Sanctuary Church of Santa Maria della Stella

The senses tell the Church of San Michele

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

Geometry and wonder in civic architecture in the Baroque of the Val di Noto

The city palace

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The palace, the town, the church

The senses tell the Cathedral of San Giorgio

The expansion of space and changing reality

From the end of the world to rebirth from the rubble

The Franciscan convent

The interior and works of art

Scenography, lights and colours of the cathedral

The Madonna dei Conadomini and the art of devotion

The Duomo di San Giorgio (Cathedral of St. George)

The works in the church

The illusion of light and the decorative splendour

Palazzo Trigona: a building with a complex shape

Barresi-Branciforte: the lords of the fiefdom and the modernisation of the town

The Antonino Uccello Birthplace Museum

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

The neo-Gothic seminary chapel: symbols, light and space

Palazzo Trigona di Canicarao

The Church of St. John the Evangelist

A compromise between Neoclassicism and Baroque

The dynamics of the Church of San Michele

The beginning of an authentic Baroque conception

The senses tell about Palazzo Ducezio

The Church of St. Mary of the Mountain

The Staircase of Angels

The church of San Nicolò l’Arena: the majesty of an unfinished beauty

The senses tell of Palazzo della Cancelleria

The church and the monastery

The eagle-shaped city

The Church of St. Francis

The Palazzo dei due mori

Unusual iconographies: the Burgos crucifix

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Paolo

The interior of the church: space and colour

The Church of St. Benedict

A casket of precious works

The interiors: diffused light and Byzantine relics

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and the Church of San Nicolò l’Arena

One city, three sites

The casket of austerity under the great dome

The triumph of Baroque: expansion of spaces

The church and the college

A stone garden

Palazzo Zacco, a balance between sobriety and decoration

Luminous sacred spaces

The Church of Madonna della Stella

Majestic exteriors, grandiose interiors

Expansion, spatiality and light in the church of San Domenico

The art of maiolica

A unifying project for the city of Catania

Art in the cathedral

The city of Modica, a balance between nature and urbanism

The Monastery of the Benedictine nuns

The new roads of the city

Madonna of the Militia: a singular warrior virgin

Virtuosity, decorations and altars

Baroque creativity: recurring themes

St. Agatha and the candelore

The senses tell about Palazzo Zacco

The Church of St. Julian on Via dei Crociferi

The two churches

Reconstruction after the earthquake

Views denied, views conquered: the power of the devout Benedictines

The senses tell about Palazzo Trigona

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

The Benedictines’ library

The smallest Greek theatre in the world

City and nature

A Nobel Prize in Modica

A new site for the church of San Giorgio

The Church of St. Paul

Baroque and the loss of balance in the 16th century

Scenography and devotion for St. Agatha

Religious architecture

The articulated interior spaces

The Badia di Sant’Agata (St. Agatha’s Abbey)

The senses tell of the Cathedral of San Pietro

The senses tell the Church of San Domenico

Expanded spaces, stucco and colourful lights

Rebirth and urban planning of the city of Noto

The freedom of worship and the Catholic Church’s role in the diffusion of Baroque

Piazza Duomo, the elephant fountain, the heart of the city

The Infiorata of Noto, a modern tradition

The city within the city

Verticality and dynamism of the façade of the Church of San Carlo

Akrai and Syracuse: an unbreakable bond

Scicli, the city of Baroque scenery

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Carlo and the former Jesuit college

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

A story of rebirth

The Monte delle Prestanze in the new city layout