Church of San Matteo in Scicli

Church of San Matteo in Scicli

Claudio Zisa - CC1.0


 Via San Matteo - Scicli (RG)

The Church of San Matteo in Scicli, from the top of the San Martino hill dominates the urban center and offers a magnificent view of the whole city to the sea. The church is the undisputed symbol of Scicli even if it has long been abandoned to itself among the ruins of the ancient city.
The first documents testify to the existence of the church since 313 AD. when the free cult of Christianity spread. It is not possible to carry out any further dating because the ancient buildings were modified and remodeled several times due to the various earthquakes that have occurred in this area, including, the most devastating, that of 1693.
Following the earthquake of 1693 the city was rebuilt downstream, but the citizens were strongly linked to the place that housed the relics of Blessed Guglielmo, who, despite the opposition of the bishop of the time, decided to rebuild the building on the hill. The ambitious project was never completed. The church was definitively abandoned in 1874, the roof was dismantled to avoid second thoughts and the mother church was moved to the current church of Sant'Ignazio.
The church is oriented in such a way as to show the entire side facing downstream. develops as if it were a second facade completed by the eighteenth-century bell tower which replaced the previous one that collapsed due to the earthquake. The facade is divided into two orders, the lower one is characterized by three portals and a series of pilasters and columns, the upper one has a central window decorated on the sides with pendentives and naturalistic motifs. On the outside, in front and on the sides, there is a long square where there is also a clock that was probably built inspired by the original one that was on the bell tower before the earthquake.
The interior has a basilica plan marked by three naves, under the floor there are the catacombs used to give burial to the citizens until 1884.

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