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Via dei Crociferi

2024-01-07 16:21


PLACES, news, catania, Giudecca tour, iusu and susu, gammazita,

Via dei Crociferi

Via dei Crociferi is the emblem of Baroque architecture in Catania. In just over 200 metres, a variety of churches and palaces of rare beauty are concentrated.

Via dei Crociferi is the emblem of Baroque architecture in Catania. In just over 200 metres, from the Arch of San Benedetto to the Church of San Camillo, a variety of eighteenth-century churches and palaces of rare beauty are concentrated. The elegant street was built after the 1693 earthquake halfway up the slope of the Montevergine hill.


Legend has it that the arch of San Benedetto (1704) was built ina single night at the behest of the bishop Monrsignor Riggio to replace an old illegal walkway tha connected the old benedectine monastery with the benectine nuns. The arch therefore unites the buldings of the large Badia, a work by Francesco Battaglia, and the small Badia attributed to Giovan Battista Vaccarini.


Going up east of via Crociferi, towards via Sangiuliano, stands, on the left, the staircase of the church of San Benedetto (1704-1713) with a wooden portal, with an interior rich in marble and stucco. Next to it stands the church of San Francesco Borgia (or of the Jesuits) with the adjoining former convent, home to the Art Institute of Catania until 2009.


The Church of San Francesco Borgia is equipped with a double flight of stairs and has a linear facade. The interior has three naves with the façade of the church, characterized by paired marble columns. Inside, the marble side altars present works by 18th century Catania painters.


Vincenzo Bellini, the "Swan" from Catania, whose birthplace in Palazzo Gravina Cruyllas in Piazza S. Francesco was transformed into a Bellini Museum, was also baptized in the Church of San Francesco Borgia.

The former Jesuit Convent, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was, with its Sicilian Baroque style façade and the large staircase leading inside, the most beautiful building of the Society of Jesus in Sicily.


On the right of Via dei Crociferi towards the east, in front of the former Jesuit College, there is the Church of San Giuliano, protected by a precious wrought iron gate. The convex facade with simple lines give it an appearance of rare elegance. The entrance vestibule is surmounted by a screened choir loft while, below, there is the crypt for the burial of the nuns. The dome, also accessible to visitors, is the second in height after that of the Benedictine Monastery.

After passing the intersection with Via Sangiuliano, you will find the Church of San Camillo with the convent of the Crociferi fathers next to it, from which the splendid Catania "living room" takes its name.


The church, dedicated to San Camillo de Lellis, patron saint of nurses and hospitals. The facade, preceded by a large staircase, is made of white limestone from Syracuse. The concave central module is enclosed by two imposing rectangular pillars, significantly rotated inwards and decorated in Corinthian style. The entrance door is surmounted by a large window, while at the top it ends with a large gable with a broken arch, the ends of which rest on the two aforementioned pillars. The floor is also particular, made with pebbles like the one present at the Convitto Cutelli.  


The most precious street in Catania opens with the Sanctuary of San Francesco in the square of the same name in front of the Bellina museum and ends to the east with Villa Cerami, now home to the Faculty of Law of the University of Catania. The noble residence which also hosted the royals Umberto I and Margherita in 1881, went through a long period of decay until the acquisition in 1957 of the Etna University which restored its decorum and vitality.


Via dei Crociferi is the stage for solemn religious ceremonies such as the singing of the Benedictine nuns during the celebrations in honor of Sant'Agata, but also a natural film set for successful films such as The Viceroys of Faenza (photo) and “Storia di una capinera ” by Zeffirelli (1993).

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