Via Crociferi, a street marked by history,
has kept intact the fascination of the Sicilian eighteenth
religious cerimonies took place in this street during the feasts
in the period of its greatest splendour. The austere and
melancholy beauty of the claustral walls, the clear and sharp
light of the courtyards, the thick mesh of rusty iron gratings
have represented a source of inspiration for many film
directors influenced by the severe scenery of the Catanese
Baroque: several films have made famous this street, among these
we can remember II bell’Antonio (1960), a Brancati’s play
played by Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale. Also
Storia di una Capinera (1994) by Zeffirelli, inspired by Verga’s
novel, develops through the white stone of the churchies, of the
cloisters and of the high iron fences.
THE CHURCH OF SAN BENEDETTO
The internal-connecting bridge of the
Benedictine Monastery is the perfect background of via Crociferi.
It became the symbol of that intricate centre of passions and
contrasts that animated the period of the reconstruction of
Catania after the earthquake of 1693. Among the important
monuments of the street, there is on the left the church of San
Benedetto built in the first years of the eighteenth century.
The interior is made up of only one nave with the polychrome
marbles floor and the silver high altar with precious stones. On
the walls are the frescoes with Storie di San Benedetto. Above,
over the modern class door, the magnificent golden choir opens
with its grace and harmony. The Benedictine nuns still live in
the Monastery where they have also opened a religious school.
The nuns were sought-after because of their sweets made during
the feasts; they cultivate also the art of singing. They are
entrusted with the closing of the festivity of Sant’Agata, at
dawn on the sixth February when, in front of the gate of the
church, they intone a chant of praise that precedes the return
of the coffin of the Saint to the Cathedral.
THE CHURCH OF SAN FRANCESCO BORGIA
The church of San Francesco Borgia rises
above a high staircase that links up the church itself ant the
street level. Francesco Borgia was born in Spain (1510-1572), he
was a relative of King Charles V, after a mystical crisis he
joined the Compagnia di Gesu’, Francesco Borgia was beatified by
Pope Urbano VIII and he was canonized by Clemente X.
THE JESUIT COLLEGE
It is made up of the church of San Francesco
Borgia and a complex of buildings which today houses the Art
institute. The central tribune balcony dominates over the
sumptuous entrance. The complex has the classical structure of
several Jesuits colleges with an area reserved for the religious
community, one for the student and another one for the services.
The courtyard strikes immediately the visitor because of the
different styles used between the first and the second order of
the cloister. This diversity is due to the long lasting works of
construction for the scholarun area (from 1717 to 1740).