Church of Santa Maria di Mili in Mili San Pietro
The church of Santa Maria di Mili is one of the oldest examples of Norman religious architecture in Sicily.
The church, and the annexed former monastery, stands on the left bank of the Mili stream near of the town of Mili San Pietro, a hamlet of Messina.
It is believed that a Byzantine monastery originally stood in the place where the current church stands. It was built around 1090 by the Grand Count Roger I of Sicily and entrusted by him to the Basilian monks.
The abbey is to be considered among the most important of medieval Sicily. In the past it has alternated periods of great splendor with periods of decline, until in 1542 the building was sold, at the behest of Charles V, to the Great Hospital of Messina. In 1866, the church and the monastery became state property and were sold to private individuals.
The apse part of the building where there are three hemispherical domes is of notable artistic value >, one major and two minors, clearly of Islamic origin and the central apse, the only emerging from the outside, in Romanesque style.
In the first half of the 16th century, the church was lengthened longitudinally, to the point that it became necessary to build a new facade and raise the level of the roof.
Inside the church were kept works of great artistic value: a panel from 1638 by the painter Francesco Laganà depicting the Madonna of the Rosary depicted among devotees praying; a sixteenth-century marble stoup; an eighteenth-century bell; These works are now kept in the parish church of Mili San Pietro. Among the works that were kept in the church there was also a plaque commemorating the burial of Giordano, now kept in the deposits of the Regional Museum of Messina.
It is advisable, before making a visit, to check that the church is open.