Lenght: 1 km
Level of difficulty: easy
Via Santa Teresa
Piazza del Mercato Coperto
Corso Vittorio Emanuele
The route starts on Corso Garibaldi, one of the two main streets of the city. Along both of its sides are located some enchanting palaces, mainly built in neoclassical style. The most prestigious ones are Palazzo Colucci and Palazzo Albano: the first one is property of the homonymous family and was built at the end of the 17th century, it is characterized by the “Pompeian” red of its façade ; the second one, in baroque-rococo style, was built in 1963 by the Spanish captain Mogavèro. Nowadays it is subjected to the Superindency as part of the of Cultural heritage because of its historical-monumental interest.
Going ahead and leaving the sea behind, you will reach Piazza Ciaia: the vital part of the town dedicated to the young patriot-poet Ignazio Ciaia, martyr of the Neapolitan Republic in 1799. Here you can admire other beautiful palaces:
- Palazzo Gaito, on whose façade there is a niche with the statue of Our Lady of the Well, patron of the town;
- Palazzo Latorre, built in the second half of ‘800 characterized by traceries around the loggia that has a semicircular balustrade;
- Municipal Building, built on the ancient Balì Castle;
- the Clock Tower, with its magnificent loggia;
- the Church of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas), built in 1596 outside the city wall, wanted by the nobleman Donato Antonio Paternò. In 1887 the church became property of the prince Vincenzo Telesio who restored it and dedicated it to Our Lady of the Rosary. Later it went under the custody of the confraternity of Maria Santissima del Rosario, as today is.
Next to Palazzo Gaito you find the historic center entrance, formerly called “terra” (land), that was enclosed by high walls and four strong towers. It has the shape of a rectangle, marked by the curvy trend of the alleys and the houses painted with lime, built one next to another. In local dialect this tangle of buildings is called U’mbracchie (term deriving from the latin Umbraculum, namely shadow, that symbolizes the shady narrow lanes where the rays of the sun cannot reach the walls of the houses). At the entry of Via del Balì there is a plaque reporting a Latin epigraph that reminds a very important event: the victory against the Turks happened on 2nd June 1678. On the right side of your way there is the majestic Arch of the Bali: a baroque gate built in 1758 that marked the entry in the courtyard of the ancient balial castle, headquarter of the Bali of Malta Knights.
After few meters on Via del Balì you will arrive in Largo Seggio, a little square were are located the Palace of the University, former headquarter of the municipality, and the Municipal Library “Ignazio Ciaia”.
Opposite, in Largo San Giovanni Battista, there is the Mother Church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. It was built at the end of ‘500 on the ruins of an ancient temple. The façade is made in calcareous tufo (local stone) and carpar, it is structured on two orders. The plan of the building is Latin cross and there are three aisles: the central one and the tighter lateral ones. The baroque church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary is adjacent to the right side of its façade while on the left side is located the Church of San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph), built at the beginning of the 20th century.
Via Santa Teresa
Walking on Via Santa Teresa you will see two churches: a little one dedicated to the Madonna dell’Arco, today called Madonna della Grazia (Our Lady of Graces), and the church of Maria ss.ma del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosery), included in the ancient Monastery of Saint Teresa.
Piazza del Mercato Vecchio
Behind the church of Maria ss.ma del Rosario there is a square called “Portici delle Teresiane”, the wide cloister of the ancient monastery. It presents two long porticos with a marble fountain in the middle.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele
After taking the second main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, go on the left and you will find the church of Sant’Antonio Abate(Saint Anthony the Great), built in 1603 next to the monastery of the Franciscans. Over the years the church had been subjected to many changes. The façade is made in bossage marble and presents three entries with three aisles inside.
Going back, toward Piazza Ciaia, you can admire the late-baroque façade of the church dedicated to the Purgatory Souls, built in 1696 by the homonymous confraternity. Its interior is characterized by precious decorations and furniture. Behind the Church, in Piazza Mercato Vecchio, there is the “Casa alla Fasanese” museum: a sixteenth century house that shows the typical dwelling of locals at the end of 800.
When you reach Piazza Ciaia, take Via Carlo Alberto and then Via San Francesco. Here there is the last survived tower that formerly was included in the city wall with other three ones. The route ends in Piazza Aldo Moro, where is located the church of San Francesco da Paola (Saint Francis of Paola). Its first nucleus was built in 1679 by the captain Leonardo Carrieri together with the hospice of Minims that nowadays is the civil hospital. The façade is made in local stone (tufo) and is structured on two orders. The interior is in baroque style and presents one aisle with a barrel vault.