Randazzo

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Randazzo
Comune
Comune di Randazzo
Coat of arms of Randazzo
Coat of arms
Randazzo is located in Italy
Randazzo
Randazzo
Location of Randazzo in Italy
Coordinates: 37°53′N 14°57′E / 37.883°N 14.950°E / 37.883; 14.950Coordinates: 37°53′N 14°57′E / 37.883°N 14.950°E / 37.883; 14.950
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province Catania (CT)
Frazioni Flascio, Monte la Guardia, Murazzorotto
Government
 • Mayor Michele Mangione
Demonym Randazzesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 95036
Dialing code 095
Patron saint St. Joseph
Saint day March 19
Website Official website

Randazzo (Sicilian: Rannazzu) is a town and comune of Sicily, Italy, in the province of Catania. It is situated at the northern foot of Mount Etna, 70 km NW of Catania by rail. It is the nearest town to the summit of Etna, and is one of the points from which the ascent may be made.

History[edit]

In the 13th century the town had its own army, which fought in favor of the king against the rebels. In 1210 King Frederick II of Hohenstaufen and his young wife Constance of Aragon sheltered at Randazzo to escape the terrible plague which raged in Palermo.

Randazzo became one of the most densely populated towns in the island, after Palermo and Messina. The town was also divided into three main districts: the Greeks lived in St. Nicola's quarter, the Latins in St. Mary's and the Lombards in St. Martin's.

During the Black Death of 1575-1580 the population of Randazzo declined. The economy slumped, and Randazzo almost turned into a ghost town.[citation needed]

During World War II, Randazzo was bombed by the Allies, destroying or damaging 76% of its buildings.

Historic buildings[edit]

  • Church of Santa Maria. It has a façade completely built of black lava stone, three polygonal apses in the form of towers and 15th-century side portals in the Catalan-Gothic style. The huge interior is divided into three naves by black monolithic columns, and preserves statues by the Gagini school and six paintings by Giuseppe Velasquez (1750–1827).
  • Church of San Martino. It has a 14th-century bell tower, by some acclaimed as the most beautiful in Italy.
  • Church of Santa Nicola, the largest in the town, originally established in the 14th century but rebuilt in 1585. It houses works by Antonello and Giacomo Gagini, and in the right nave a triptych by Messinese painters
  • Castello Svevo ("Hohenstaufen Castle"), the only one remaining of the eight medieval towers, on a high lava rock, already existing at the time of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. For a time it was the seat of the Giustiziere del Valdemone (a kind of medieval judge and governor) and a prison, then became the mansion of the Romeo e Vagliasindi families, to become again a prison in later centuries: a sinister building, with tiny cells, a torture chamber, the well for those who were sentenced to be bricked up alive. After a recent restoration the castle is used today as an exhibition center and houses a collection of "Pupi siciliani" and the Paolo Vagliasindi archeological museum.

Main sights[edit]

  • Aragonese Gate
  • Palazzo Lanza
  • Palazzo Scala, a former Royal residence from the 12th century.
  • Palazzo Finocchiaro (1509).
  • The Castello Svevo ("Hohenstaufen Castle")

Gallery[edit]

Church of Santa Maria 
Church of San Martino 
Church of Santa Nicola 
Former Town Gateway 
Castello Svevo 
Cell in Castello Svevo, where prisoners were walled in to starve to death