The inner center
The tutelary Nume
In this page we wish to present to you another particular aspect that characterizes some houses of the Historic Centre of Bronte: the ancient portals in lava or sandstone, and, above all, the arches and the architraves, masterly sculptured by the ancient stone cutters of Bronte.
Usually these are architectural structures featuring a curved line (with lowered or elliptic arch) of several and different styles, resting on two lava stone supports with ornate capitals in relief and a curved stone in the arch centre (the key) sculptured with a coat of arms, a symbol, a face or a tutelary numen to protect and defend the house.
With the passing of time, because of plain indifference, many of these portals have been lost, damaged, broken to pieces or even stolen (a typical example the beautiful portal of the ancient church of Placa Baiana literally snatched during the night and taken off with it by the usual unknown).
But just look to the present day to see that the thefts and raids continue: without fear a few years ago, in front of the Carabinieri station in via Benedetto Radice, a drinking bottle was torn and stolen, which had been resisting there for some centuries.
We would wish a better protection for the few portals still in existence and, if is absolutely necessary to demolish some of these houses, we would like the portals to be preserved in the gardens in front of the Nelson Castle, in its open air Museum of sculptured lava stones or in the new “Museum of lava stone and artisan and agricultural traditions” of whose opening everybody is talking (a regional financing for the placing of exhibition handcrafts and the purchase of the technological instruments appears to have been already granted).
Bronte still preserves a town planning structure of clear Arab inspiration with ancient courtyards, under passages, portals in lava stone, on which are inserted motives of Renaissance and baroque inspiration, with plasters and sculpted stones of great beauty.
The ancient zone is rich of architectures inspired to the typical simplicity of the rural civilization.
A lot of the portals beautified by floral decorations, the palaces still preserve unchanged the ancient and elegant moldings and those elements particularly interesting in lava stone (the material most used in the gone by centuries).