Basilica la Collegiata in Catania
The Basilica della Collegiata is one of the oldest churches in Catania dating back to the late Baroque, located in the heart of Catania a few steps from Piazza dell’University.
Before the current building there was a votive capital in this area dating back to the early centuries of Christianity and which took its name from the sacred icon of Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina. The temple took on ever greater importance. Over time it was frequented by the Aragonese royal family and for this reason in 1396 it had the title of “Royal Chapel”. Subsequently, in 1446, Pope Eugene IV established a College of Canons, from which the current name of "Collegiate" derives. After the disastrous earthquake of 1693, the Basilica della Collegiata was rebuilt by architect Antonio Amato, based on a design by Angelo Amato, who upset the structure by relocating the main entrance on the opposite side to the original one, facing directly onto Via Etnea.
The peculiarity of the eighteenth-century facade by the creative genius of Stefano Ittar is contained in its soft structures. An alternation of concave and convex elements that recall the shape of an organ and give the Church a magnificent harmony.
The interior of the Latin cross basilica of the Collegiate Church has a basilica plan, with eight pillars that divide the church into three naves. The works that adorn the three minor altars are very interesting.
Of particular importance are the two frescoes by the painter Giuseppe Schiuti which depict: one the ancient shrine of the Madonna and the other commemorating the delivery of the bull by Pope Eugene IV. Behind the main altar there is a gilded wooden organ with 18th century carvings. There are numerous richly decorated tombs of nobles and benefactors.