The church of La Gancia

The church called Santa Maria degli Angeli, and also known as La Gancia, was built at the end of the 15th century by the Franciscans, who wanted a new hospice inside the city walls. The main façade is decorated with two Gothic portals with bas-reliefs on the arch. The interior, which has been modified during the ages, has an aisleless nave and 16 chapels on the side. The original decorations are the multicolored marble floor and the fine wooden ceiling. During the Barocco period, the Sicilian sculptor Giacomo Serpotta, added the amazing stucco decorations that still enrich the church today.

The choir, which is located in a different room, has several old panels (dated from 1697) painted by Antonio Grano and showing some Franciscan Saints. The choir has also an original 16th century organ.

On the external side of the church, on via Alloro, there is a hole with a peculiar story. It was opened during an uprising against the Bourbons, in 1860, by two rebels, Gaspare Bivona and Filippo Patti, who were hiding from the soldiers in the crypt of La Gancia, playing dead under some true corpses. With the help of the locals, who faked a fight on the street to distract the guards, they managed to escape through this tiny hole, which is still there.

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