The Palatine Chapel is in the Palazzo dei Normandi, which is the current home of the Sicilian Parliament. This chapel was ordered to be built by King Roger II between 1132 and 1143. The construction was carried out by Greek craftsmen, Normans and Arabs in order for all religions Sicily had at the time to be represented. It is an authentic treasure not to be missed, especially after its reconstruction in 2009. The entrance to the Palazzo dei Normandi palace as well as the chapel costs 10 € on a guided tour in Italian only.
Within a 5 minute walk from the Palatine Chapel, you can find the small church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti . The most striking aspect of its architecture are the five red domes which crown the Arab and Norman-influenced church. It was built in the reign of Ruggiero II in 1142. Inside, you'll find a beautifully preserved cloister. There's a fee to enter.
This church was built around 1640, although the facade was built later in 1726. It consists of 3 naves and houses many works of art. It has an interior cloister, which is the famous Museo del Risorgimento.
The Chiesa di San Pietro (or: St. Peter's Church) is one of the most important churches in the small Sicilian town of Modica. Walking down the street the first thing that will probably stand out to you is the beautiful staircase with sculptures of the apostles on it. Inside of the 3 ships it's even more impressive than its facade because it's better preserved and restored than [poi = 1021511] St. George's Cathedral [/ poi], with Corinthian columns with beautiful, spectacularly decorated with marble inlay white, colored marble and frescoes depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Compared to the cathedral, I can not say which is prettier.
The Church of San Cataldo, with its characteristic three red domes, lies on the Plaza Bellini, next to La Martorana. It was the chapel of a palace built by Maio of Bari (Admiral William I) in the twelfth century; he died before it was completed, and today it belongs to the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. The style retains its Arab-Norman lines, with three red domes, arches, and windows decorated with battlements. You can see inscriptions of quotations from the Koran. Inside, the only decoration is the marble mosaic floor. It's open to visitors, although there is an admission charge (I can't remember how much it was).
In the North Acropolis of the archaeological site of Segesta, the remains of a Christian church that was originally a single nave covered by a barrel vault can be found. It was built in 1442 by citizens of Calatafimi in an already inhabited area of Mount Barbaro. It was a rural chapel frequented by shepherds dedicated to St. Leo. However, excavations of the area discovered that this church was built on the remains of an earlier twelfth century basilica with three naves that would have been constructed by the Normans. This would have been the church of the Castle which was located just behind it. A cemetery with simple tombs carved into the ground was also located just outside.
Most of the churches that I saw in Sicily had a pretty run-down appearance. This is one of them, although it is now being restored, so it was closed to worshipers. It is located in a small alley, in the west side of the city, and we wouldn't have found it if it weren't for the tourist map. It was built in the fourteenth century by fishermen, and modified several times since. You can only see the outside, with its baroque facade located on the Via Santa Anna.
We had to go to Acirale to learn about the saint San Sebastian. From the beginning we shared some banter with our friends on the "virility" of this holy saint in all our pictures or images ... Around frescoes about his life there is a beautiful church both inside and outside as its exterior boasts ornate baroque statues.
Well, pehaps it should be rather "what's left of it." XII century but was not discovered until the twentieth! and this within a courtyard, along the narrow streets of the center. It has been restored by a private foundation. The Byzantine-style frescoes! Although from the twelfth century are not entirely restored, you can see the the ones from the XIV and XVI, but the restoration works are ongoing. It is realy wonderful to see the Christ Pantocrator, almost a private visit, only you! And use your imagination to get an idea of how the rest of the church looked. Although not very easy to find, well worth the visit. A small sign indicates where it is located, but it's best to ask for directions.
The chapel of the Castelbuono Castle can be accessed through a small door. It´s really small inside but very nice and beautiful. Baroque style, it´s only decorated in two colors - golden with white reliefs. Very beautiful!
On the corner between the squares of Vigliena and Pretoria is the church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini, one of the best examples of Sicilian Baroque. The church was built in the early seventeenth century by Giacomo Besio, a Genoese member of the Order of the Theatines, or regular clergy. It's easily spotted by its large dome, covered with yellow and green tiles, its distinctive bell tower designed by Paolo Amato, and the fountain and statue of San Gaetano (founder of the order). The interior is very spacious with baroque decoration, marble, and high ceilings entirely covered with frescoes and stucco. It has a Latin cross plan with three naves, divided by marble columns of varying height. Plenty of preserved Baroque altarpieces can be seen inside.
South of the Plaza Pretoria, in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, is the church of San Mateo. It's not as well-known as others, but it has a richly decorated interior. It was built in the mid-eighteenth century, linked to the Miseremini, a religious order dedicated to saying masses for souls in purgatory (beside the altar there is a painting by Joseph Testa depicting souls in purgatory). It has a Baroque facade, made of grey marble by Carlo D'Aprile and Gaspare Guercio. In it there are three statues: the Virgin in the centre, with San Mateo on the left, and San Matías on the right.
The church has a Latin cross plan with three naves separated by columns. Inside are four marble statues representing Faith, Hope, Charity, and Justice. It has a huge central dome, entirely covered with frescoes. The altarpiece was made by Philip Cinistri from marble decorated with precious stones, agate and lapis lazuli, with bas-reliefs that depict biblical scenes, made from gilded wood. Behind the altar is the sacristy, with beautiful walnut furniture and oval medallions again depicting images of souls in purgatory, all made from wood and carved by the sculptor Pietro Marino in 1738. From here you can enter the crypt, full of tombs. There is an admission charge to enter, and you are not allowed to take photos once inside.
Next to the popular Saturn Fountain is the main entrance of the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino that was built in the twelfth century and was a former Knights Templar chapel dedicated to San Juan Bautista. Frederick III of Aragon ordered a rebuild in the thirteenth century for the Augustinian Fathers. During World War II it was heavily damaged and the convent demolished. The current appearance is typically Gothic, like the front that has a niche with a statue of a Madonna and Child and a huge rosette. Since the nineteenth century it's not been worshiped in but is used as an exhibition hall, such as an exhibition on Leonardo Da Vinci that we saw. The price was alarmingly expensive: 8 €.