Sicily

Day 5 - Cathedral of St Nicholas, Taormina


Dating from the C13th this was built from recycled stone from the Greek Theatre


The Cathedral is on a small piazza on Corso Umberto with the splendid Baroque Centaur fountain in front of it.
 
Centaur Fountain, Taormina

The Cathedral dates from the C13th and is built on the site of an earlier church. It was rebuilt in the  C15/16th and restored in the C18th.

Taormina Cathedral

With its battlements it looks more like a fortress than a church, especially the north facade.

Taormina Cathedral

The Baroque west door was added in the 1636 under instructions from the local administrators, as recorded in the marble slab above the door. On either side are two columns and a frieze carved with figures of the four evangelists with their symbols, apostles and bishops. At the top of the door is Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Below on the two doors are images of St Nicholas, the titular saint of the church and Saint Pancras, Taormina’s Patron Saint.
 
Taormina Cathedral

Taormina Cathedral

The door on the north wall is earlier and has vines carved on either side, along with a hind drinking from a stream.

Taormina Cathedral

The cathedral is a traditional Norman church with nave, side aisles and three apses. The six pink marble columns in the nave are thought to have come from the Greek theatre.

Taormina Cathedral

Taormina Cathedral

The main altar set in the central apse has a crucifix and very tall candlesticks. In front of it is a smaller altar with a carving of the last supper on the front.

Taormina Cathedral

Taormina Cathedral

On either side are two chapels, reached through round archways. On the right is the Chapel of Our Lady of Graces.

Taormina Cathedral

To the left is the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament which was rebuilt in the Baroque style at the end of the C18th, with an elaborate marble altar and reredos.

Taormina Cathedral

Down the walls of the aisles are large marble altars, added in C17th.

Taormina Cathedral

Above the altar at the back of the right aisle near the door is a painting from 1463 showing the Visitation of the Virgin Mary with Saints Joseph and Zechariah. The second altar has a beautiful painted 1504 polyptych. The lower panel depicts the Madonna and Child with Saints Jerome and Sebastian on either side. Above is the Deposition of Christ with Saints Lucy and Agatha. The panel below depicts the Last Supper.

Taormina Cathedral

The third altar has a beautiful Eastern-Orthodox-style painted icon on wood which is covered with silver incrusted with semi-precious stones.

Taormina Cathedral

At the back of the left aisle, above the altar, is a C16th painting of the Enthroned Virgin and Child between John the Baptist and the Prophet Elia. Above is God the Father with the crucified Christ.

Taormina Cathedral

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