Church of St. Michael of Placa Bajana
The S. Michele church of
Placa Bajana or Placa Tower was located at few kilometres from Bronte, in the ancient Casale
di Placa Bajana on the banks of the river Simeto.
Nowadays of the old building, used as a deposit by an agricultural
enterprise, remains only the walls and the characteristic red façade; few
decades ago has disappeared also the ancient lava stone portal, literally
torn off and stolen at night.
We rely, for the church’s description, to the words of the historian of
“The little church is located alongside a feudal, towered castle, once,
in Troina’s territory, which belonged to Margherita Buglione.
Looks over the Ricchigia, wherein other small churches were and listen to
the roar of the Simeto when comes down swollen by the melting of the snows.
The façade with the pyramidal pediment in its rustic and symmetric
simplicity, worked as mosaic with small pieces of reddish brick and roof
tiles lokks like the demure face of a modest countrygirl; certainly is
more poetical than a church adorned with superior marbles and
architecturally sumptuous. I think it dates to the XIII century.
Over the door lintel, sculptured in a square tile of white stone there is
written: Ecclesiastic immunity does not apply here. During those iron times this little church didn’t enjoy the right of
sanctuary for criminals.
The shelter was safer in the castle jail, of
which can still be seen the gates.
“The church has on its front a square
54.13 meters long and 13.80 meters wide. Has only one marble altar dedicated to the Annunciation.
The picture seems
work of the XVI century.
It shows Our Virgin Lady greeted by the Angel,
above there is the Eternal Father, surrounded by small cupids; below is
the Archangel Gabriel; a cherub offers a lily to the Virgin, that looks
like a mature girl.
The S. Michele statue, titular of the church, when the hamlet joined
Bronte in 1692, was brought in the Main church and placed in a niche
alongside the chapel of the SS. Sacramento.
Next to the church there is a small
cemetery. Having been Placa Bajana a hamlet of Bronte, the archpriest is also the
parish priest of Placa Bajana.
Up to 1720 many deceased were still buried in this cemetery and that makes
us suppose that even after the union many settlers stayed there.
On the church’s bell, not used for over 3 centuries to call the faithful
anymore, can be read the date of 1631 and the name of D. Ferdinando Toledo,
marquis of Floresta, baron of Placa. The church is used now as a storehouse”.