Quarry of Sant'Antonio in Melilli

Quarry of Sant'Antonio in Melilli


 Via S. Paolino - Melilli (SR)
 + 39 3501266456

Pirrera of Sant'Antonio a Melilli, also known as Quarry di Sant'Antonio, is a splendid site of industrial archeology.
Pirrera opens at the foot of the coast line of the same name, Costa Sant'Antonio, which borders towards the north and to the east the limestone plateau on which the town of Melilli stands.
It is an artificial quarry used for the extraction of limestone, excavated in a tunnel according to the classical system of some Syracusan quarries of the Greek age. Huge pylons with a square base of 5 meters on each side and up to 26 meters high draw wide corridors that extend for about 2.5 square kilometers. It is a real underground city characterized by an unusual and suggestive beauty due to the play of proportions, lights and shadows. To increase the charm of this place is the beauty of the white stone of Melilli, considered the best for quality and beauty of the entire territory.
It is believed that the extraction process from the quarry began in the second half of the 1400s and reached its peak in the years following the Val di Noto earthquake of 1693, to provide the many construction sites with the renowned limestone necessary for reconstruction of the buildings destroyed by the earthquake.
The stories of the pirriaturi, the quarrymen, who detached the blocks from the gigantic walls with blows of pickaxes and wooden wedges, were tied to the stone; subsequently these blocks arrived in Melilli on mules arranged one behind the other and guided by the "retina head" and finally reached the various construction sites of the town, where skilled local stonecutters sculpted columns, cornices, shelves, capitals, all sorts of architectural elements and decorative for the construction of palaces, churches and fortifications.

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