Cathedral of Sant'Agata in Catania
The Cathedral of Sant'Agata in Catania is dedicated to the virgin and martyr Sant'Agata, patron saint of the city of Catania and is located in the historic center of the city in the south-east side of piazza del Duomo, in front of the symbol of the city: U Liotru. It stands on the site of the Roman Terme Achilliane and the martyrdom of the patron saint of the city.
The cathedral of Catania has been destroyed and rebuilt several times after the earthquakes and accidents that have taken place over time: on 4 February 1169, a catastrophic earthquake made the ceiling collapse completely, killing most of the citizens gathered in the cathedral for the Agatine festivities. . In 1194 a fire created considerable damage and finally in 1693 the earthquake that hit the Val di Noto almost completely destroyed it, leaving only the apsidal part and the facade standing following the collapse of the bell tower.
The current church was built in 1711, based on a project by Girolamo Palazzotto who mainly dealt with the interior, while Giovanni Battista Vaccarini designed and followed the works on the facade with interventions and modifications that lasted from 1734 to 1761. The sumptuous facade in three orders of Giovan Battista Vaccarini is in white Carrara marble, adorned with columns and statues. The churchyard is accessed via a short marble staircase that culminates in a wrought iron gate adorned with 10 bronze saints. The churchyard is divided from the Piazza del Duomo by a white stone balustrade adorned with five large statues of saints in Carrara marble. Noteworthy are the central portal, with 32 finely carved wooden panels, and the three lava stone apses of the Etna, inheritance of the previous Norman cathedral.
The interior, with a Latin cross plan, is divided into three naves. The frescoes by the Roman Giovan Battista Corradini stand out in the central apse, with the Coronation of St. Agatha, while the two columns at the base of the apse arch and the single lancet window are of medieval origin. In the right aisle is the funeral monument of the musician Vincenzo Bellini, while in the right apse the sumptuous chapel of Sant’Agata houses the chapel with the precious relics. The temple houses the tombs of numerous Norman, Swabian and Aragonese royalty.