Mother Church of Petralia Sottana
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The Mother Church of Petralia Sottana, also known as & nbsp; Basilica of Maria Santissima Assunta of Petralia Sottana, is located in the ancient Pusterna district overlooking Piazza Umberto. It is the main Catholic place of worship in Petralia Sottana and the largest building of worship in the Madonie.
The church has a fifteenth-century layout but, over the centuries, its structure and configuration have been considerably changed, both internal and external.
The façade, although incomplete, dates back to 1725: the first order, delimited by mighty pilasters surmounted by a massive cornice, includes a single monumental arched portal jutting out between windows decorated with elegant marble frames. The ashlars arch has paired pilasters on each side, surmounted by Corinthian capitals and an architrave with several orders of articulated molding. In the second order there are three different perspective orders: a squat pediment completing the portal, the median body of the nave delimited by pilasters with a central window, the closing pediment in correspondence with the upper cover. In the southern façade there is a portal in Gothic - Catalan style which dates back to the original fifteenth-century layout consisting of slender pillars and round arches supported by capitals decorated in relief with thistle leaves. On the right side of the transept there is the bell tower in white limestone, about 30 meters high, completed in the year 1680, as can be seen from an inscription on the attic of the tower.The bell tower has three superimposed orders: the first is almost entirely occupied by a large ogival arch, in the last the single lancet windows open through which the bells can be seen.
L he interior, in the form of a Latin cross, is divided into three naves: the central one covered by barrel vaults and the lateral ones covered by cross vaults supported by six pairs of Tuscan columns. It features ornaments and a rich stucco decoration with Baroque motifs and decorated with the colors of the sky with reference to the theme of the Assumption of Mary.
Among the numerous works kept in the church, of particular value they are: the marble polyptych of the Madonna Assunta by Giorgio da Milano 1501; the late Gothic wooden polyptych of the Sienese Marche school of the 15th century by an unknown master of the Madonie; the canvas of San Mauro by Giuseppe Salerno, the "Zoppo di Gangi", dated 1623; the sculptural group of the nativity of the sixteenth century by Bartolomeo Berrettaro, Giuliano Mancino and Antonello Gagini; the canvas "five wounds of Christ" by Giuseppe Salerno of 1629; the wooden statue of San Calogero hermit by friar Umile Pintorno 17th century; the canvas the "Triumph of the Eucharist" by Giuseppe Salerno from 1617.
The church also preserves a fabulous treasure made up of rich robes, ex voto and silverware. Among the silverware we remember a beautiful and very precious processional cross and an Arab bronze candelabrum dating back to between the 11th and 12th centuries.
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