The original site of the monastery was near the hill of Santa Sophia, outside the city walls, but in the 13th century the nuns moved into the city in the Civita district and founded the cloistered monastery dedicated to St. Julian.
After the terrible earthquake of 1693, the complex was razed to the ground and the Duke of Camastra was assigned the task of designing the city’s new urban plan, which envisaged rebuilding the monastic building in the same place. This fact caused the nuns great distress because, after the great earthquake, the route of the saint’s procession changed and they could no longer watch the passage of St. Agatha and her worshippers.
Consequently, the nuns, who came mostly from noble families in Catania, decided to move to a better area. In 1698 they moved to Via dei Crociferi.
They swapped the old Benedictine monastery for the Ospedale San Marco (St. Mark’s Hospital), modifying the buildings and beginning to build their new monastery, finally conquering an excellent view of the procession of St. Agatha that passed by Via San Giuliano then turned on to Via dei Crociferi.