Church of San Filippo Apostolo of Syracuse

Church of San Filippo Apostolo of Syracuse

SanFilippoApostolo - CC4.0


 Piazza San Filippo - Siracusa (SR)

The Church of San Filippo Apostolo of Syracuse is of particular importance for the three underground levels excavated by the ancient Greeks kept in it.
It is believed that this site was used as a place of cult until 1492, the year in which King Ferdinand issued the edict of expulsion of the Jews from his kingdom and therefore also from Sicily, and that subsequently the Confraternity of San Filippo occupied the place and began the construction of a first church. Due to the earthquake of 1693 we have no trace of this construction. From notarial deeds it is clear that the construction of the current church took place between 1706 and 1742, the date is still engraved on the stones of the facade of the church.
The church of San Filippo Apostolo, characterized by a Greek cross plan and from the pyramidal development in the pediment, it owes its particularity to the central position of the dome , which introduces an innovative element in the religious architecture of Arezzo, unlike the other churches of Ortigia where the dome is located between the transept and the main nave. The façade is set on two orders, of which the lower one is delimited by Corinthian pilasters; the central module has a spacious gabled portal in the first and a window flanked by pilasters in the second.
The interior space is divided into three naves separated by polygonal pillars flanked by columns supporting round arches. The interiors are characterized by a typically eighteenth-century decorative mantle.
Of particular importance are the three underground levels excavated by the ancient Greeks: on the first level there is the crypt of the church with eighteenth-century frescoes ; on the second, the underground network, a fascinating underground maze which connects all the sacred and institutional sites of the ancient town of Ortigia and which also served as a refuge during the Second World War ; and on the third a Greek well around which, in the late fifteenth century, a helical staircase was built leading up to the spring of fresh water placed at a depth of 18 meters, used as a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath. This area of ​​Ortigia called Giudecca, in fact, housed the Jewish quarter until 1492.

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