Church of Santa Maria Alemanna in Messina
The Church of Santa Maria Alemanna di Messina is a rare example of Gothic art in Sicily.
It was built in 1220 at the behest of Frederick II and was then entrusted to the Priory of the Teutonic Knights who used the church and the adjoining hospital as a shelter and resting place. After a long period of neglect, several restoration interventions followed from 1949 onwards. In the most recent, dating back to 2001, a wooden roof was built and the glass closure on the west elevation. The church has been open to the public since 2001 and is used to organize exhibitions, events and shows.
Among the people who benefited from the care of the hospital attached to the church is the writer Miguel de Cervantes. The author of Don Quixote della Mancha was hospitalized in 1571, after being wounded during the battle of Lepanto.
Outside, what remains of the main portal and of the lateral one that was in the north façade, testifies to a direct derived from Byzantine and Romanesque sculpture.
The interior, with a basilica plan, has three naves and three apses. The aisles are separated by triple bundles of pillars with leaning semi-columns from which pointed pointed arches branch off in a transverse and longitudinal direction, which close on half-pillars arranged along the perimeter walls. The main material used, in addition to marble and limestone with gray-green veins, is gypsum. The only decorative elements left are floral motifs and human faces present in the capitals of the columns.