Chiesa San Nicolo
Church of San Nicolo
Benedictine monastery and imposing church
The church of San Nicolo and the associated monastery are among the largest in Europe. In 1702 the Benedictine monks began to build the church, which is still unfinished. The façade, with its unfinished pillar stumps, is very impressive and the intended size of the monumental temple is still visible. The three-nave interior construction is topped by a large dome, which can be visited for a small fee – you’ll have a magnificent view over Catania from the top. Inside, there is also a meridian of 1841, a choir from the 18th Century and a large organ of Donato del Piano, which was praised by Goethe in his writings.
The literature faculty of Catania is located in the neighbouring monastery. It is worth taking a tour through the monastery complex with its two beautiful courtyards and rich appointments. During the Etna eruption of 1669 that destroyed the western half of Catania, the lava stopped exactly at the outer wall of the monastery, which can still be seen today. Noteworthy are also the ruins of previous buildings in the cellars and a large stone pendulum, which warned the monks about earthquakes.