Bronte's City/Monuments - Church of San Vito

Church and Convent of San Vito

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The church of San Vito and the homony­mous convent rise in the highest part of the town and look on the big panoramic square close to the most ancient road board of Bron­te: the via Santi that starting from Piazza Maddalena (today Piazza Nunzio Azzia) arrives up to the sanctuary of the Annunciated.

The typology is the typical hall church to one only nave. Certainly the church has humble origin, was built where now are the sacristy and the refectory’s corridor and, maybe, it was held together by clay, as they used to build in Bronte in those times.

Nothing was reported about the church or the convent during the pastoral visit in Bronte by Monsignor Torres in 1574. The land was granted to the Minori friars practicing the Order of S. Frances to build the adjoining convent certainly after 1574. The first sure mention goes back to 1592, in which the viceroy count of Olivares order ”…that for the construction of the said convent would be granted for three years the tax on the meat, which would amount to 25 onzes per year".

Restorations and renovations

Since then underwent several restorations and remaking:

 it was restructured in 1643 (being prior P. Antonio from Bronte);

 the inside was restored and decorated in 1879 (by Nunzio Capizzi Monachello);

the apse was completely renewed with rich gildings and ornaments in 1880 (by the dean Giuseppe Ardizzone);

the balustrade of the major altar was constructed in 1894 (care of the friar Francesco of Bronte).

There are no news instead, about the building of the choristers' area, composed by a solid disposition of vaulted volumes leaning on marble columns (can be accessed only from the contiguous convent).

The prospect

On the prospect, simple and tidy, concluded at the top with the tympanum just mentioned, stand out the black shape of the basaltic portal of beautiful proportions, with floral decorations engraved in bas-relief, and the central prismatic flight of steps in lava stone.

The inside

The inside to one only nave, with apse and cantor' area, has rich gildings and ornaments which reach the maximum deco­ration in the hemispherical part of the apse. The church has seven altars: to right Sant' Anto­nino, San Vito and San Pasquale; to left San Giuseppe, San Francesco and the Crucifix. The major altar, adorned with polychrome marbles, is consecrated to the Virgin (precious the wooden statue).


The basaltic portal of beautiful proportions, with floral decorations engraved in basrelief.

Placed in an eleva­ted position with respect to the town, the church and the convent of San Vito stand out in the brontese pa­no­rama.
A spectacular lava flow creates, to the right, a background for the two edifices (Currenti photography).

In the cantors sitee (accessible only from the inside of the convent) can be seen a wooden chorus with seats and backs joined together by an inlaid cornice on small columns and scul­ptured capitals, a rotating music stand over a hexagonal base and a painting on cloth showing a seated Franciscan monk.

At the dawn of August 10th 1860 Selva (so cal­led because went in a spacious convent Selva (forest) of San Vito), in the presence of all the brontese population, Nino Bixio had shot five presu­med culprits of slaughters and arson of the Fatti di Bronte of the 1860.

The monument to the victims of 1860, erected to the feet of the steps which
open on the church square is work
of the brontese sculptor
Domenico Girbino

In their memory, in the October of 1985, to the feet of the flight of steps that brings to the chur­ch's square, the council had a monument erected, on occasion of a Con­vegno-processo on the facts of 1860. The two plates affixed to the monument say: "Ad perpetuam rei memoriam of citizens brontesi that in the August 1860 gave their life in holocaust" - "Town Council October 10th, 1985".

Translated by Sam Di Bella


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