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Admission to Benedectine Monastery of Saint Nicola

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    What to Expect
    The Benedictine Monastery of Catania is a jewel of the Sicilian Late Baroque. A Cassinese community founded the complex in 1558. The original structure was modified by two natural calamities: the lava eruption of 1669 and the earthquake of 1693. It was destroyed and re-built and it is now an example of the integration of different historical periods. Visiting it, you can see the transformations due to the lava eruption and the earthquake, but also to the civil uses to which it was destined after the Unification of Italy and the results of a refurbishment project conducted by Giancarlo De Carlo. 

    A guided tour gives you the possibility to enjoy the Eastern Cloister built after the earthquake of 1693. In the middle of the cloister there is the Caffeaos, an eclectic edicule (gazebo). Next to the Eastern Cloister you can see the Western Cloister, also called the "Marble cloister" because of  the marble from Carrara used for the decorations, for the colonnade and for the fountain. Unfortunately the earthquake of 1693 destroyed most of the cloister that was rebuilt with a new style: the late baroque. The visit continues in the sixteenth century basement that nowaday is the contemporary University Library, inside it's possible to admire two Roman Houses (Domus) thanks to an hanging structure by Giancarlo De Carlo perfectly integrated in the structure of the 16th century monastery . 

    In the second floor you can visit the Night Choir with the balcony (Gelosia) in the Church of San Nicola L'Arena and the Novices Garden built on the lava of 1669. The tour continues in the Kitchen and its cellars built by Giovan Battista Vaccarini, a famous architect of the 18th in Sicily. The Kitchen has a central stove decorated with colourful ceramics and three holes that communicate with the cellar in the basement. The Cellars hold a fascinating relationship with the lava stone:  “amazing spaces for their mysterious quality”. Almost all the vertical structures  – walls, pillars, arches – are made with lava stone chained with the rough lava floor. Exploiting the characteristics of the lava stone Vaccarini realised a web structure that makes the cellar particularly charming and resistant.

    The tour ends at Monumental Staircase, a beautiful entrance with stuccos and bas-reliefs that looks like the entrance of a royal palace.
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    Important Information
    Departure Point
    Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicola l'Arena 
    Info Point (Officine Culturali)
    1h 30m
    • Professional guide
    • tourist Info Point
    • It is possible to take pictures inside the Monastery
    • A map with descriptions in Italian and English
    • A map for kids with descriptions and games in Italian and English
    • A wardrobe for bags and coats
    • Entry/Admission - Monastero dei Benedettini
    • Gratuities
    • Bookshop
    • Kid's activities
    • vending machines for food and beverages
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    Additional Info
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
    • Wheelchair accessible
    • Most travelers can participate
    • Children must be accompanied by an adult
    • A maximum of 5 people per booking
    • the tours will have tactile supports for blind or partially sighted people
    • Wheelchair accessible, please advise at time of booking if wheelchair assistance is required and send a note with weight and dimension of the chair
    • Your tickets will be held at the theater box office for collection on the day of the performance
    • Comfortable shoes
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 25 travelers
    Cancellation Policy
    For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
    Reviews (2)
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    Reviewed 9 September 2019 via mobile

    We did not realize this was the University of Catania but enjoyed seeing how the students live and hear how the monks did live. The building is ever so beautiful and the tour was informative and a great value.

    Thank Anaispins
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