Officially known as the church of Santa Maria Assunta, the church of Santa Chiara is located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, next to the former Benedictine monastery of the Holy Crucifix.
The church was designed by Rosario Gagliardi around 1730, it was completed in 1758 and later annexed to the monastery belonged the Benedictine nuns (which is now a museum). It represents an important example of baroque architecture.
The façade of the church was originally located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele. It had a portal surmounted by a broken vault, while at the centre there was a window with a large circular gable decorated with battlements. In the XIX century, as a result of previous excavation works, the church’s entrance turned to be above the street level, which practically obstructed the access to the worship place. The same thing happened to the portal of the monastery (now walled but easily detectable by lavish baroque battlements and pyramidal pinnacles which are still visible).
The current façade, located in via Capponi, has the main entrance located on a small staircase.
The façade has a portal framed by two Tuscan-style columns. The corners of the bell tower are decorated with two capitals.
The church has an elliptical shape reminiscent of the Roman churches built between the XVI and the XVII centuries.
The interior of the church has numerous decorations with cupids and stucco.
The only ovoid-shaped nave of the church is surrounded by 12 stone columns. Each of these columns is topped by statues of the Apostles, all of them made by Basile.
The vestibule is characterized by a wooden ceiling, while on an upper level stands the wooden choir, painted and decorated with inlays.
The altar is one of the most important examples of baroque style design with its battlements in bas-relief finely decorated with polychrome stucco. We also see the painting of “The Assumption of Mary” of the XVIII century.
Among the many artworks inside the church, there is an altarpiece depicting Santa Chiara, San Benedetto and Santa Scolastica, made by Salvatore Lo Forte in 1854 and a XVI century marble-made sculpture of the Virgin and the Child, attributed to Antonello Gagin
Progetto finanziato con risorse di cui al Progetto d'Eccellenza "Culto e cultura - Itinerari di turismo religioso" di cui alla L- 296/2006 art. 1 c. 1228.
TOURIST PACKAGE CONTRACT (Aut. Regione Sicilia N.3743/S. 7 Tur del 22.02.2017)