Church of San Giuseppe (Ragusa)

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The Church of San Giuseppe in Ragusa, together with the Cathedral of San Giorgio, is considered one of the highest expressions of Baroque in the city. It is not by chance that UNESCO has included the monument in the serial site “Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto“. Some rooms of the old Benedictine convent house the Obsculta Museum.

History and Architecture of the Church of San Giuseppe of Ragusa

The Church of San Giuseppe of Ragusa was built at the beginning of the 18th century on the site of another church destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Its design is attributed to the architect Rosario Gagliardi, one of the most important baroque architects of eastern Sicily. The façade is convex and divided into three orders. In the first there are four columns and two pilasters in Corinthian style and statues of saints: Gertrude, Augustine, Gregory and Scholastica. In the upper one there are statues of St. Maurus and St. Benedict, as well as the large central window with “gelosie”. This is the grille used in cloistered convents to allow nuns to look outside without being seen. Finally, in the last one, there are three belfries surrounded by rounded railings.

The interior and the artwork

The interior of the Church of San Giuseppe h of Ragusa has an elliptical plan and a splendid floor. It is made with a contrast between black pitch and white limestone, combined with polychrome tiles. The five altars are made of stone and decorated with stained glass, creating a marble-like color effect. The central altar painting was painted in the 18th century by Matteo Battaglia and represents the Holy Family. The other paintings are by Tommaso Pollace and Giuseppe Crestadoro. The vault was frescoed in 1793 by Sebastiano Lo Monaco with the Glory of St. Benedict. Inside the church there are also wooden stands with jellies from which the nuns attended religious services.

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