Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista (Ragusa)

Search Hotel, B&B and Vacation Homes

The Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) in Ragusa is one of the monuments that are part of the UNESCO serial site: Late Baroque Towns of Val di Noto. The history of this imposing church is linked to the reconstruction of the city after the earthquake and the birth of the “new” Ragusa. Just as the Cathedral of San Giorgio is the Cathedral of Ibla, this is the Cathedral of Upper Ragusa.

The history of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Ragusa

The construction of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista of Ragusa dates back to the early 17th century. After the destruction caused by the earthquake of 1693, the bourgeoisie decided to rebuild the city from scratch in another place. The nobility of Ragusa, on the other hand, chose to rebuild their palaces in the same place where they had stood. The existing church of S. Giovanni in Ibla was restored and reopened for worship and then adapted to the present church of Sant’Agnese. Instead, a new church was built in the new town, work on which began in 1694 and was completed the following year. The first version of the building proved to be too small for the constantly expanding area of the city. For this reason, a new project to enlarge the church began in 1708 and was completed eleven years later. In the 18th century, the interior stucco decorations were made, and in the following century, the decorations of the side chapels and the frescoes of the dome.

External architecture of the church

The façade of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista in Ragusa is divided into five bays by six Corinthian columns. The majestic entrance portal is surmounted by an entablature with a broken curvilinear pediment, and in the center, in a niche, is a statue of the Immaculate Conception. On the sides there are two statues of St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist. In the second order of elevation, there is a large window placed in the center between two sundials. The one on the left measures the time in Italic hours (sunset to sunset), while the one on the right measures the time in French hours (midnight to midnight). On the left is the bell tower, about 50 meters high. It has four levels and culminates in a spire. Originally, there were to be two bell towers, but after the discovery of some structural defects, it was decided not to build the one on the right.

The interior of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Ragusa and the artwork

The interior of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista of Ragusa is Latin cross-shaped with three wide naves marked by twelve Corinthian columns with gilded capitals. The floor was made in 1854 in pitchstone with geometric inlays in white limestone. The stuccoes on the nave and on the side aisles date back to 1731 and were made by the Gianforma brothers, students of Giacomo Serpotta. Along the naves there are several chapels rich in decorations and works of art. Among the most important are a canvas depicting “St. Philip Neri” by the Gaeta painter Sebastiano Conca and a “Christ at the Column” by A. Manno. In the first chapel, entered on the left, there is the wooden statue of St. John the Baptist, which is carried in procession through the streets of Ragusa every year on August 29th. It was made in the first half of the 19th century by the local sculptor Carmelo Licitra. In a niche of the apse there is another statue of St. John, but it dates back to 1532. It is attributed to the sculptor Angelo Retto and is made entirely of pitchstone. Because of its black color, the people of Ragusa call it “St. John the Black”.

The Museum of the Cathedral of San Giovanni Evangelista in Ragusa

It is also possible to visit the Museum of the Cathedral of San Giovanni in Ragusa, where in seven rooms are exhibited relics saved from the earthquake and various donations made over the centuries. In the first room it is possible to admire, among other things, a reliquary inlaid with ivory and wood made by a famous Venetian workshop in the 14th century and a silver pyx from the 14th century. The second room is dedicated to the devotional objects of St. John the Baptist and contains a reliquary made in 1731. In the next rooms there are various sacred vestments and devotional objects from the 20th century. The last section of the museum houses the exhibition “Sicilia Antiqua”, a collection of maps, charts and paintings of Sicily from the 16th to the 19th century.

Aggiungi ai preferiti

Leave a Reply

See others sights