The Capizzi college
The building, a square structure with
internal courtyards, is very large and occupies the whole
perimeter of the block, bound by Corso Umberto and the other streets,
Cardinal Deluca, Attina' and Capizzi.
Stands in the part of the town built between the end of the XVIII and the
beginning of the XIX century.
The changed disposition of urban volumes have somewhat altered the
architectural relationship with the adjacent buildings, without however
changing, to any extent, the perspective. The close vision, from across the road not particularly wide, still allows a
detailed reading of the refined wall decorations.
The more ancient monumental part of the
complex was built on tree levels and a
basement (with a gym, the kitchens, laundry and the stables).
A beautiful horizontal strip of lava stone shows the separation of the street
frontage levels. The regular rhythm of the openings is alternate to the repetitive and
geometrical forms of the wall decorations. The crowning in masonry (feigned balustrade) closes the
façade above an overhanging cornice.
On the cornices, on the windows
pediments and on the floor showing strip
there are sculpted, in bas-relief of lava stone, ornamental motifs of rare
At the center of the architraves stand out some images of human faces. The lot is crowned by swags with paper coil and shell of baroque taste.
The services are placed at the basement of the building; the
gymnasium opens on one of the big internal courtyards; the class rooms and
the dormitories are in ground and first floor.
Two courtyards internal to the complex and the "little garden"
determine the articulation of class rooms and corridors.
The rooms in the basement, looking on via Cardinal
De Luca (that up to not long ago contained a bank) are now
being restructured to become the art gallery of Bronte.
The oldest part of the college in a map of 1875. Can still be
seen the plan of the little San Rocco chapel which was in a
corner of the building with a side small street. The chapel
was demolished in 1907 to make room for the construction of
the Sacred Hearth church. To be noted also that the left part
of the College was leaning over houses where today there is
Cardinal De Luca street.
people know Bronte for the heartless executions by firing squad
ordered by Bixio in 1860;
not so many for things related to the Maniace
Abbey and the Nelson Dukedom or the importance of the town
as a cultural center, for more than a century, in nearly all of
Sicily: the Capizzi College and boarding school, unique in a
rural center, founded by the diocesan priest Ignazio
Bronte, agro-pastoral village, similar to many in the island,
non Jesuitical center, has to fight against nature (Etna
devastating eruptions) and against the Nelson
Dukedom, but finds in the pride of its citizens and in the
creative intelligence of one of its sons, Ignazio Capizzi, the
strength to bring it to history's attention. Deserves, therefore,
absolutely, a particular mention.
Furthermore, it's not enough to create something
as to make it grow and prosper with a constant organizational
and cultural action to make it last.
This was the merit of a
number of people of Bronte, committed in the role of managers
and teachers who were not engaged from outside but were selected
only between the best local elements.
The hard journey of that population, always trying to redeem
itself from the ransom in which the various Nelson, Bixio or
Garibaldi kept it through economic interests and the continuous
adhesion to an old culture, unable to percept the needs of new
and changed times.
(Salvatore Cucinotta, "Sicily e Sicilians", Sicilian
Editions Messina, 1996)
Over the stairs that
take to the Direction with the picture “Illustrious Bronte’s
A large oil paint canvas by Agostino Attina’ of the 1874.
Details of the main façade of the Corso Umberto: on the
cornices and trabeations of the windows and on the
string course there are the ornamental bas-relief motifs
carved in lava stone of rare finesse.
At the center of the architraves are carved some figures
of human faces.
The whole is crowned with festoons with cartouche and
shell of baroque taste.