Baroque gradually acquired its own personality in Sicily now that local architects were working on it with an independent point of view like Andrea Palma, Rosario Gagliardi and Tommaso Napoli.
This kind of new architecture was born thinking about Sicily's personality: the San Domenico Church by Rosario Gagliardi in Noto or in Ragusa Ibla - packed with Baroccan monuments - planned in 1738 - with a huge staircase of 250 steps.
Noto, San Domenico Church
San Giorgio Church in Ragusa Ibla.
Catania too was badly damaged by the earthquake and its reconstruction was supervised by Catania's bishop and only architect survivor, Alonzo di Benedetto. He focused on the Duomo Square and with many buildings thanks to a team of architects that worked so well with him that is now almost impossible to distinguish which one's work is the bishop's.
Catania, Duomo Square
Many of the monuments built, as we already said, featured complicated stairs that will later inspire other monuments (like Piazza di Spagna in Rome): one example is the Chiesa Madre in Palma Montechiaro.
Chiesa Madre in Palma Montechiaro
We think about Baroque as something lush and rich and full but we also have to take into account that baroque decoration required a long time to be completed. Many, although owning a Baroque building, would opt for a much simpler decor that would be then called "Pompeiano". One example of it is Palazzo Aiutamicristo (Helpmegod Palace) in Palermo, a mix of many styles and architects.
Palazzo Aiutamicristo, Palermo
By the mid-way point of the XVIII century there were certain precise elements in Baroque that were distinctly recognisable, like the presence of puttos, bold balconies, complicated sets of stairs, chiseled facades, the use of local igneous rock, "independent" columns, detached from the facade, Spanish architectural influences. These characteristics were now recurrent in Baroque buildings as the Sicilian Baroque style was well defined by then.
Written by: Elisa della Barba