Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena, Catania

Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena, Catania (must see)

Formerly a Benedictine establishment, the monastery is located at Dante Square in Catania. It is part of Val di Noto Works Heritage Site. There are no monks to be found on the premises but the humanities department of the University of Catania has found a home here.

The monastery was founded in 1558 and dedicated to San Nicolo "l'Arena." The monastery is in the center of town. It stands beside the Church of San Nicolo l'Arena. After the 1669 eruption of Mount Etna and the 1693 earthquake, the monastery was level with the ground.

Rebuilding commenced in 1702 and continued until the monastery was confiscated by the government in 1866. The current monastery rests on top of the original one (what was left of it). It has a new cloister and area designed by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini.

The original monastery used a square floor plan. A cloister in the center was called the "marble" cloister. It had a marble colonnade and a clover shaped fountain with refined renaissance decorations. In 1693 all this was destroyed.

The "Marble" cloister was rebuilt with late baroque decorations. The Eastern Cloister was a new addition. A new area on the North side was also added.

Giancarlo De Carlo, architect, has said, "...the old meanings have been substituted by a new one that allows the old architecture get a new structure and an important role for the contemporary world."

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Catania. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena on Map

Sight Name: Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena
Sight Location: Catania, Italy (See walking tours in Catania)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Catania, Italy

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