PLACES OF WORSHIP
Italy is, of course, predominately Roman Catholic. As is true in most of Europe, every few blocks, sometimes on the same block, you will find a church or other symbol of worship. The churches are sometimes very large and ornate with massive columns, golden tiles, stained glass, painted ceilings and alters. Other times you may only find small niches dedicated to the patron saint of the town. In Mazara, with its large population of refugees, Christians and Muslims peacefully worship side by side, while the Arbëreshë, worship in the Orthodox Church, and there is a Jewish section in Ortygia that houses what may be the oldest mikveh (ritual baths) in Europe.
The Norman Cathedral in Monreale was built by King William II between 1170 and 1189. The distinct architectural and artistic elements reflect the influences of its Arab, Byzantine, and Norman craftsmen. The mosaics are pure gold and cover the nave, walls, and ceiling with scenes from the Old Testament. I think it is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen.
The very modern Catholic Church in Syracuse, the Santuario Madonna delle Lacrime.
Chiesa di Santa Lucia alla Badia of Syracuse. Built in 1695, it is dedicated the city's patron saint, St. Lucy. It is also the home of Caravaggio's masterpiece, the Burial of St Lucy, 1609.
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