Former Church of Sant’Antonio Abate (Taormina)

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The former church of Sant’Antonio Abate (St. Anthony Abbot) is the first monument to visit when you start your Taormina itinerary from Porta Catania. It is a small church dating back to the 14th century that houses a permanent crib where the most important monuments of Taormina are reproduced.

History architecture of the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate in Taormina

The former Church of St. Anthony Abbot of Taormina is a 1330 building that stands just outside Porta Catania. During the bombings of 1943, the church was completely destroyed, but was rebuilt with the same materials recovered from the rubble. The present appearance is a fusion of different architectural styles. Features of Gothic art can be seen in the white limestone portal and the pointed arch above the lintel. The small bell tower, located in the left corner of the façade, recalls the architecture of the 17th century. On the main façade, there are two windows on the side of the portal. They are closed by lead plates with openwork, a special type of decoration of Byzantine origin.

The interior of the church and the nativity scene

The interior of the Church of St. Anthony and the nativity scene

The interior of the church, no longer used for worship, has a single nave. On the left side there is a vaulted niche decorated with gray marble from Taormina. Here is a small wooden statue of St. Anthony Abbot, depicted with his right hand blessing, a pastoral staff in his left hand and a miter on his head. Since 1953, in the church of St. Anthony Abbot in Taormina, there is a permanent crib created by Dionisio Cacopardo. The peculiarity of this crib is the presence of many monuments of Taormina, reproduced to scale. For example: the Greek Theater, the Cathedral, Palazzo Corvaja, Palace of Badia Vecchia, Palazzo dei Duchi di Santo Stefano, the Piazza IX aprile, the Clock Tower, the church of S. Giuseppe and the former church of Sant’Agostino.

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