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Review: Cathedral of St Nicholas

Attraction - Castles & places of worship

Corso Umberto, Taormina, Sicily, Italy

An impressive building constructed from recycled Greek masonry

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2341 reviews

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  • October 2017
  • Solo

28 people found this review helpful

The Cathedral is on a small piazza on Corso Umberto with the splendid Baroque Centaur fountain in front of it.

Dating from the C13t, it is built on the site of an earlier church. It was rebuilt in the C15/16th and restored in the C18th. With its battlements it looks more like a fortress than a church, especially the north facade.

The Baroque west door was added in the 1636 under instructions from the local administrators, as recorded in the marble slab above the door. On either side are two columns and a frieze carved with figures of the four evangelists with their symbols, apostles and bishops. At the top of the door is Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Below on the two doors are images of St Nicholas, the titular saint of the church and Saint Pancras, Taormina’s Patron Saint.

The cathedral is a traditional Norman church with nave, side aisles and three apses. The six pink marble columns in the nave are thought to have come from the nearby Greek Theatre.

The main altar set in the central apse has a crucifix and very tall candlesticks. In front of it is a smaller altar with a carving of the last supper on the front.

On either side are two chapels, reached through round archways. On the right is the Chapel of Our Lady of Graces. To the left is the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament which was rebuilt in the Baroque style at the end of the C18th, with an elaborate marble altar and reredos.

Down the walls of the aisles are large marble altars, added in C17th. One in the south aisle has a beautiful painted 1504 polyptych. The lower panel depicts the Madonna and Child with Saints Jerome and Sebastian on either side. Above is the Deposition of Christ with Saints Lucy and Agatha. The panel below depicts the Last Supper.

The altar next to it has a beautiful Eastern-Orthodox-style painted icon on wood of the Virgin and Child, which is covered with silver encrusted with semi-precious stones.

The cathedral is free and gets a steady stream of visitors. It is definitely worth going into.

There are more pictures here.

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