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The Chapel of the Sepulchre of S. Lucia

Aretusa at the time of the Crusades
February 9, 2022
Palazzolo Acreide
February 14, 2022
Aretusa at the time of the Crusades
February 9, 2022
Palazzolo Acreide
February 14, 2022
Siracusa, external niche of the chapel of the Sepulchre of S.Lucia, (Photo Archivio Cultur'Arte Santa Lucia)

The Chapel of the Sepulchre of S. Lucia

 
As you enter Piazza S. Lucia from via Ragusa, the second order of the little octagonal chapel of the Sepulchre of S. Lucia emerges from the ground-level of the square and invites you to come closer to discover its architectural beauty. What you’ll see is a building in typical baroque style, characterised by pilasters which frame the two portals and the niches with strongly jutting cornices which create pleasing chiaroscuro contrasts. The capitals are characterised by masks which chase each other in fantastic expressions, while the portals are embellished by sculpted decorations which resemble palm and branch models. The second order, totally different from the original project by the architect Vermexio begun in 1629, has large openings which alternate with smaller windows.
 
The inside of the little church repeats the external pattern with the pilaster decoration that delineate the walls of the octagon, with the ceiling divided into segments which converge in the centre, from which a large chandelier made in Murano glass hangs. In the wall opposite the entrance is the Saint’s Sepulchre, a rock-cut-tomb, now isolated from the catacomb system of which it was originally a part, and which extends beneath the square. The sepulchral niche is framed by a wooden framework from the early 1900s which replaced the ancient coloured marble altar from the 1600s; this has been reassembled and since December 2020 stands against the wall between the two entrances of the church.
Siracusa, Sepulchre of S. Lucia, Saint's sepulchral niche. (Photo Archivio Cultur'Arte Santa Lucia)
 
Inside the niche you can still see today some pictorial traces in the form of small roses and above it, a medieval stone slab picturing a dog, a gryphon and a dove, respectively the symbols of fidelity, strength and purity. On the wooden structure is a plaque with painted letters which reads; “Lucia omnis plebs te expectat” – Lucia, all the people are waiting for you, referring to the longheld wish that the remains of the Saint should be returned to Siracusa. Since the Fall of Constantinople these have been held in Venice, venerated in the church of Ss. Geremia and Lucia. Below the altar lies the marble statue of the Saint from the 1600s, sculpted by Gregorio Tedeschi.
Siracusa, The Chapel of the Sepulchre of S. Lucia, inside (Photo Archivio Cultur'Arte Santa Lucia)
 
DARIO BOTTARO

He studied at the Istituto Statale d’Arte, specialising in Painting and Visual Arts at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Noto. He then completed his studies on artistic heritage at the Istituto di Scienze Religiose S. M. in Monte Berico. He studies the cult of St. Lucy and has published various volumes, most recently, Santa Lucia nella pittura aretusea. Pale d’altare e dipinti devozionali nelle chiese della provincia di Siracusa. He has catalogued the precious endowments of the silver simulacrum of the Saint and directed the editorial column of the Deputazione della Cappella di S.Lucia di Siracusa. For Morlacchi editore, he contributed to the text Lux in tenebris lucet.