Church of San Giuseppe (Taormina)

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The Church of San Giuseppe is one of the two churches in Taormina that overlook Piazza IX Aprile, one of the most beautiful squares in the city. The church, built in Baroque style, was the seat of the “Confraternity of the Souls in Purgatory”. Therefore, if you look closely at all its decorations, you can see human figures in flames, skulls and crossed shins.

History and architecture of the church of San Giuseppe di Taormina

The construction of the church of San Giuseppe of Taormina dates from the late 1600s to the early 1700s. A splendid double staircase in Syracuse stone leads to the cemetery. Two side portals and the main one open onto the double-sloped elevation. The latter is made of Taormina marble of different colors: white for the jambs and the lintel, grey and pink for the other decorative parts. On the right side of the church there is the bell tower with an octagonal dome. The church of St. Joseph of Taormina was the seat of the “Confraternity of the Souls of Purgatory”. For this reason, in several decorative elements, both inside and outside, human figures can be seen in the midst of flames. The fire symbolizes the purification of sins.

The interior and the artwork in the church

The interior of the church of San Giuseppe of Taormina has a single nave and a transept. In the center there is a dome decorated with a fresco of San Giovanni Bosco as a child between the Madonna and Jesus. The walls of the church are entirely covered with stucco decorations in the Baroque style, reproducing floral motifs and the heads of winged angels. On the floor there is a large black and white marble inlay representing a human figure surrounded by flames. This is the former entrance to the common ossuary of the church. Next to one of the small altars, in a niche, there is an urn made of wood and glass. Inside there is a statue of the dead Christ, which is carried in procession through the streets of Taormina on Good Friday. In the sacristy of the church there is a beautiful fountain made of pink marble from Taormina.

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