THE ISLAND OF ORTIGIA
|THE ISLAND OF ORTIGIA| Arethusa Fountain| Judaica. Exploring Jewish Siracuse| The Seaside| Piazza Archimede| Piazza Duomo| Palazzo Bellomo| St. John the Evangelist| Santa Maria della Concezione| The Temple of Apollo|
Santa Maria della Concezione in Syracuse.
The church of Santa Maria della Concezione, a few steps from the Duomo, is certainly not the most beautiful among the baroque churches in Syracuse,
but being one of the few regularly in use it is also one of the most easily visited,
not requiring any particular reservations or permissions.
Through it one can appreciate the characteristics of the Baroque style prevalent
in the houses of worship of Syracuse, owing to reconstruction after the disastrous earthquake of 1693.
The church, consisting of just one nave, has a splendid floor, laid in ceramic tiles of Capodimonte, painted by hand, which creates a phantasmagorical multicolored carpet.
The space is very bright and is covered by a frescoed ceiling in the rococo style.
Four magnificent side altars frame baroque paintings by diligent local artists.
Rather than on individual works of art, all in all the impact created by the
church is based on the whole, airy and elegant, which refutes the accusation of
the Sicilian Baroque as being "heavy" and overloaded.
The floor in ceramic tiles of Capodimonte.
|Standing on the interior of the façade is the great choir of 1703, which is a
typical example of those "choirs of nuns" present in all the churches formerly attached to convents. |
The choir of Santa Maria della Concezione in Syracuse (1703).
|The simple iron grating, transformed by Baroque artists into lavish decorative
elements, wraps around the entire space, creating an area of genuine confinement
to which by ancient custom were relegated daughters for whom a family would not,
or could not, pay an adequate "dowry".
Baroque architects were then confined, here as in many other churches scattered
throughout Italy, to make choices halfway between a jail (to take in the unruly girls) and a fortress (to keep out very bold young men).
In the Sicilian baroque the grating becomes a decorative element, as in this
church, so that rather than being hidden discreetly it stands on display, making
it round, golden, and prominent, as they are in this church including also to
two balconies, midway up, on either side of the main altar.
How to Reach Santa Maria della Concezione from the Algilà Ortigia Charme Hotel.
The church is located a few hundred meters from the Hotel Algilà, a short distance
from the Duomo. One is advised, therefore, to make the journey on foot, walking along the
streets of baroque Syracuse.
Conditions of Visiting.
Santa Maria della Concezione is open during hours normally observed by churches.
During services visits are not permitted.
Both male and female visitors are asked to avoid entering in clothes that are
too skimpy, like shorts, sundresses, and the like.
If one plans to walk about with light clothing it would be advisable to bring along clothing suitable for a visit.
There are no major architectural barriers along the road, but the passage from
the vestibule of the church (which is at street level) to the church itself has
three steps, which require assistance for those in wheelchairs.
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