LUCIA DEL MELO
Lucia nestles 215m a.s.l. in the north-western slopes of the Peloritani,
in the province of Messina. The town totals nearly 5.300 inhabitants.
It grew to the size of a hamlet around the 13th century, counting
about a hundred families. Successively, it also accommodated some
Jewish and Lombard colonies. A remarkable expansion was recorded
in the 15th century; in the next century, its defensive walls were
tour of the town includes several stops beginning with the many
attractive buildings scattered throughout the town centre.
Cathedral, of Norman origin, has a central doorway complete with
a lunette bearing a Madonna among St. Agatha, St. Lucy and the Eternal
Father. Above is the Royal Eagle, the symbol of the regal patronage.
The church interior is divided into three naves and graced with
monolithic columns. It is ornamented with numerous works of art
such as a 1500’s panel depicting Saint Mark the Evangelist,
a 1500’s marble statue representing Saint Lucy, two 1600’s
canvas paintings depicting San Biagio, by Pietro Novelli, and Our
Lady of the Assumption, and a 1700’s wooden Crucifix.
next stop is the 1600’s Capuchin Convent with the adjoined
church of the Immaculate Virgin. The church contains countless works
of art such as a 1600’s wooden carved altar, a 1600’s
painting depicting the Immaculate attended by St. Peter, St. Clare
and St. Lucy, with an image of God above, and the 1600’s wooden
statue representing St. Felix.
Chiesa dell’Annunziata, flanked by a bell-tower dating from
the 15th century, is divided into three naves. It houses various
works of art such as a 1400’s panel depicting the Madonna
delle Grazie, a painting depicting the Presentazione al Tempio and
a 1500’s Annunciation.
the minor churches is the Convent of the Padri del Terz’Ordine
Regolare, complete with the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Gesù.
Presently, only the cloister and the church are open to public;
the latter contains a fine wooden Crucifix, a 1500’s baptismal
font and a 1600’s canvas depicting the Baptism of Christ.
1400’s Church of Saint Nicholas is especially known for housing
a 1500’s marble statue of the titular saint.
Palazzo Vescovile (the Bishop’s Palace) is an important stop
too. Many pieces of art adorn its interior, such as a 1600’s
marble low-relief in the staircase leading to the upper floor depicting
Giobbe attended by his friends, a 1800’s marble statue representing
the Madonna di Trapani, a 1500’s polyptych depicting Saint
John the Baptist, Saint Francis of Paola and the Resurrected Christ,
a 1500’s Byzantine panel depicting the Madonna of Creta.
Lucia del Mela also accommodates an engaging Castle. It was designed
as a fortification, with a round tower built, at Frederick II’s
behest, by Arab workers and decorated with crenellations. Repeatedly
left abandoned throughout the centuries, the castle retains the
remnants of a pentagonal tower, a round tower housing a Library
with various incunabula and 1500’s works, and a small 1300’s
chapel that gives access to the Santuario della Madonna della Neve.
The santuario contains precious works like a Antonello Gagini’s
Madonna della Neve, two 1700’s statues depicting Santa Lucia
and San Biagio, a painting representing the Death of St. Joseph.