September 26th 2018


Beautifully weathered lime render

The church of San Giuseppe dominates the Piazza IX Aprile, next to the clock tower in Taormina, Sicily. The lime rendered façade of Baroque style church with its weathered coatings was built in the second half of the 1600s. It reminds us of our own mortality.

Above the portal there is a broken semi arch, with a coat of arms in the centre with this inscription: "Faciat vobiscum Dominus misericordiam, sicut fedistis cum mortui. (From Book of Rhut 1,8) whose translation is as follows: "Have the Lord for you that mercy that you have had for the dead (from the Book of Rhut 1,8). Above this sits a skull with crossbones, which is beautifully displayed in a kiosk with marble jambs and another broken arched pediment.

 A majestic double double ramp leads to the churchyard, and both the stairs and the landing in front of the church are fenced with a magnificent limestone stone balustrade of Syracuse.

The six artistic vases with agave plants decorate the balustrade on the churchyard of the church.
The monumental main portal is made with marble of Taormina of different varieties, white in the jambs and lintel, gray and pink in the other decorative parts; on the sides there are two columns with capitals of the Ionic style, resting on high bases like those of the main portal of the Cathedral Basilica.

Above, in a niche there is a large marble statue of Christ the King, with his right hand raised and blessing and with his left holding a large cross. At the top of the façade, another skull with crossbones smiles and is surmounted by a small iron cross.

The two slopes of the façade are decorated by two vases with flames and a bust of human figure in the midst of the flames, while flames are symbolized at the top of the aedicule showing the skull above the main portal. All these flaming symbols are due to the fact that the church was the seat of the "Brotherhood of the Souls in Purgatory", and the flames mean the purification of the souls in Purgatory, whose etymology means to purge, cleanse, cleanse and purify oneself of sins.


September 26th 2018

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