Syracuse (SR) – Ortigia

One of the most beautiful baroque piazzas in Italy is Piazza Duomo in Ortigia, Syracuse. A rectangular piazza surrounded by flamboyant palaces.  Here you find the extraordinary main church and the church of Santa Lucia, which is important for us Swedes.

The main church of Ortigia has not much left from the Greek era than couple of Doric columns in the facade, but is worth a visit. It's dedicated to Athena and is part of the UNESCO heritage list. Usually when you seen one baroque church, you have seen them all, but this main church is very different. Its style is mainly Baroque and Rococo on the outside, inside has parts dating back to the Siceliot epoch, and parts dating back to medieval times, built by the Normans and thus left until the present day. Its internal structure is composed of several naves and chapels, which have a classic and decorated style, typical of the Baroque too. The site of the church dates back as far as year 700 B.C, but the church was complete 1753.

By the main church is the Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, an important church for us Swedes as we celebrate Saint Lucia the same time as in Sicily. Here you find the original masterpiece from Caravaggio, Il seppellimento di Santa Lucia (Burial of St Lucy). It's painted in Syracuse between 1608 and 1609.


En av de vackraste barock piazzorna i Italien är Piazza Duomo i Ortigia, Sirakusa. En rektangulär piazza omgiven av flambojanta palats. Här hittar du den extraordinära huvudkyrkan och kyrkan Santa Lucia, vilken är viktig för oss svenskar.

Ortigias huvudkyrka har inte mycket kvar från den grekiska eran än några doriska kolonner i fasaden, men är värt ett besök. Den är tillägnad Athena och ingår i UNESCOs världsarvslista. Vanligtvis när man sett en barockkyrka har man sett dem alla, men den här huvudkyrkan är väldigt annorlunda. Dess stil är främst barock och rokoko på utsidan, inuti delar som går tillbaka till Siceliotiden och delar som går tillbaka till medeltiden, byggda av normannerna och därmed kvar tills idag. Dess interna struktur består av flera navar och kapeller, som har en klassisk och dekorerad stil, som är typisk för barocken. Kyrkans plats dateras så långt som år 700 B.C, men nuvarande kyrkan var färdig 1753.

Vid huvudkyrkan finns Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia, en viktig kyrka för oss svenskar då vi firar Santa Lucia samtidigt som på Sicilien. Här hittar du det ursprungliga mästerverket från Caravaggio, Il seppellimento di Santa Lucia (Begravningen av Santa Lucia). Den målades i Sirakusa mellan 1608 och 1609.


Santa Lucia is celebrated in Sicily and also in Sweden. How is that possible?
Yes, because celebration and life of Saint Lucia stretches back to the time of the Vikings and the Roman Empire.
Saint Lucy, in Italian Santa Lucia is celebrated each year 13th December and is one of the few saints Sweden celebrates, but is one of the most important saints in Sicily and probably the most spread celebration of sicilian saints in the world. She is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse in Sicily. Because of various traditions associating her name with light, she came to be thought of as the patron of sight and was depicted by medieval artists carrying a dish containing her eyes. Santa Lucia is also seen as the protector of Christianity.
Lucy came from a wealthy Sicilian family. Spurning marriage and worldly goods she vowed to remain a virgin in the tradition of St. Agatha (the saint of Catania, Sicily). An angry suitor reported her to the local Roman authorities for protecting persecuted christians, who sentenced her to be removed to a brothel and forced into prostitution. Lucy was probably a victim of the wave of persecution of Christians that occurred late in the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. As evidence of her early fame, two churches are known to have been dedicated to her in Britain before the 8th century, at a time when the land was largely pagan. Her death was violent as miraculously unable to move her or burn her, the guards took out her eyes with a fork. In another version, Lucy's betrothed admired her eyes, so she tore them out and gave them to the pagan man she refused to marry, saying, "Now let me live to God".
In Sweden, St. Lucia’s Day marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration. Saint Lucy is one of the few saints celebrated by members of the Lutheran Church among the Scandinavian peoples, who take part in Saint Lucy's Day celebrations that retain many elements of Germanic paganism. Saint Lucy is celebrated also in USA by people with scandinavian heritage with church activities.
Santa Lucia how it is celebrated in Siracusa, Sicily
How Santa Lucia is celebrated in Sweden