Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria (Ragusa)

Search Hotel, B&B and Vacation Homes

Ragusa’s Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria, with its blue dome, is one of the most famous corners of the city. Originally built by the Order of the Knights of Malta, it was rebuilt in its present form after the earthquake of 1693. It is one of the monuments in Ragusa that are part of the UNESCO serial site: Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto.

The history of the church of Santa Maria dell’Itria in Ragusa

The construction of the church of Santa Maria dell’Itria in Ragusa dates back to 1626 and belonged to the Order of the Knights of Malta. The octagonal cross, symbol of the Order, can be seen on the entrance door, on the organ choir and on the high altar. In 1701, the Cosentini family had the Chapel of the Crucifix built at their own expense, connecting the church to their palace with stairs and internal roads. The church was slightly damaged in the earthquake of 1683 and was rebuilt in its present form in 1733. The name probably comes from the Greek word “odigitria”, which means “she who guides, who shows the way”. In the Middle Ages, it referred to the Byzantine iconography of Our Lady with Child, or more precisely, Our Lady of Odigitria. The cult, coming from Constantinople, also spread throughout Italy, and in Sicily the name was mispronounced as Idria or Itria.

The exterior architecture of the Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria in Ragusa

The façade of the Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria in Ragusa was completed in 1740 and has a rather classical and academic style. The elevation is divided into two orders by a very prominent cornice. In the first one there are three portals with splendid carved stone decorations representing floral motifs and garlands. To the left of the church there is the imposing bell tower, which with its blue dome characterizes the fascinating panorama of Ragusa Ibla. The bell tower culminates in a balustrade of columns surmounted by an octagonal tholobate. Its walls are covered with eight Caltagirone terracotta panels decorated with large rococo flower vases.

The interior of the church and artwork

The interior of the Church of Santa Maria dell’Itria in Ragusa has three naves separated by Corinthian columns. The five altars of the naves are rich in sculptures and carvings made between 1741 and 1758 by Ragusa sculptors of the Cultraro family. At the beginning of the right nave is the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows, built on the site of the ancient church. Still visible today are some carved cornices decorating the entrance door and a hexagonal column built into the wall of the adjacent sacristy. Very beautiful is also the altar of the Crucifix Chapel, decorated with splendid twisted columns, where the painting by Mattia Preti of St. John the Baptist and St. Julian is kept.

Aggiungi ai preferiti

Leave a Reply

See others sights