The large number of Sanctuaries in Sicily is an indicator of the huge ecclesiastical and cultural heritage of the island. They are places hosting sacred testimonies, whose memory is jealousy preserved by local communities, as an inspiration for faith travelers and for artistic cultural trips.
We suggest you an itinerary among the most particularly attractive sanctuaries, well-known both for being connected to sacred events, and their historical and artistic value.
In the area of Catania, the city devoted to the culto di Sant’Agata, we find the Sanctuary of Maria Ss. di Valverde linked to brigand Dionisio’s conversion, following the Virgin Mary apparition that happened in this place in 1038.
The evocative Sanctuary of Madonna della Sciara in Mascalucia, located in Contrada Mompilieri, recalls the frightening 1669 eruption that completely buried the original ancient shrine under a thick layer of incandescent lava. After years of useless excavation works looking for the valuable statue of the Madonna, a marble work attributed to Antonello Gagini, a “pious woman” pointed to the place where to search and the precious sculpture was found undamaged. Here stands the actual small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and entitled “Madonna della Sciara” (sciara means lava). The Sanctuary, where you can still see the cave where the statue was recovered, is immersed in the typical Etna landscape, and is an oasis of silence and spirituality.
In Trecastagni, the Sanctuary of the three Saints brothers, Alfio, Filadelfo and Cirino, dates back to the mid 17th century. Its central nave was built over the ruins of an ancient aedicule that the first Christians had erected on the site where these three Martyrs took a break during their way to Lentini in 252. The complex events related to their life, their burial and the finding of their bodies, make this place of worship a historically significant site.
The Sanctuary of Madonna del Ponte was built in Caltagirone in 573, a year after the Blessed Virgin Mary’s apparition to a deaf-mute child. The sacred image, with Baby Jesus on her lap, miraculously appeared as a reflection on the water of a ancient source that nowadays is embedded in the Sanctuary’s, inside a chapel, from where crowds of pilgrims still draw miraculous water.