The Association is non-profit and its social purpose is the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the artistic, cultural, and monumental heritage owned by the Parish "Santi Pietro e Paolo" in Castiglione di Sicilia.

Association Museum of Saints Peter and Paul in Castiglione di Sicilia.

+39 094 29 84 058

+39 094 29 84 058

Mother Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

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Choose one of the locations


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The ancient Norman Tower, which is now open to visitors, includes the visit of two rooms and the bell tower floor with a spectacular view of the Alcantara Valley and Mount Etna. A contribution of 2 Euros or QR code scanning is required.

The church stands in the upper part of the city, within what was once a medieval defensive system located on the hill where Castiglione di Sicilia is built. The tower, which houses the spire of the bell tower at the top and whose lower part constitutes the apse of the church, was probably once a keep belonging to one of the four castles built by Roger II.


Tradition has it that the church was founded by Count Roger II, son of Roger I, the conqueror of Sicily and father of Constance of Hauteville, in 1105. Although this date is reported on the perimeter wall of the building, near the bell tower, the presence in the external structure of the apse of corbels supporting arches reveal a strong analogy with the architecture of the late Norman period, leading to dating the building to the beginning of the 13th century. It seems that the church, during the Norman reign, enjoyed great privileges extending its jurisdiction to centers such as Francavilla, Linguaglossa, Roccella, Calatabiano, and Mascali. In the early 15th century, when the Benedictine monks abandoned the abbey of the Holy Trinity, located outside the town and settled in premises adjacent to the church, the sacred temple became their place of worship.


Elevated to Mother Church since its foundation, over the centuries, the church has been the recipient of donations that have allowed to embellish its interior and carry out important restoration works. Abbot Giuseppe Coniglio, who died in 1666, left the church the substantial sum of 6 thousand ounces, which was hidden inside a tomb by the archpriest Cesare Gioeni to protect it from the intentions of the prince of Malvagna, who repeatedly tried to borrow it. Giacomo Gioeni, successor of Cesare Gioeni, designated the church as universal heir of his assets and took care of restoring the damages caused by the terrible earthquake of 1693.

The archpriest also worked for the construction of the bell tower, as recalled by the inscription: Iacobus Abbas Gioeni Aragona Vicarius et Visitator Generalis Year 1709. During the restoration works, following the earthquake of 1818, the numbers of the date were inverted, so today we read 1760 instead of 1709. On November 18, 1717, the bell tower and the church, at the request of Don Giacomo Gioeni, were consecrated by Monsignor Migliaccio, bishop of Messina, as Castiglione then belonged to this diocese. Antonio Sardo, archpriest from 1781 to 1823, managed to obtain important privileges for the church. Upon his death in 1822, he was succeeded by his nephew Giovan Battista Calì who took care of the restoration works of the church, which had been closed for worship following the earthquake of 1818, during which the upper part of the bell tower collapsed. In 1837, after nineteen years of intense work, its doors were reopened to welcome the faithful. 


Giovan Battista Calì is also credited with the foundation of the Villadicanense library, enriched with precious incunabula and manuscripts, and the creation of an archive where documents saved from numerous fires were collected. On June 27, 1889, the church was reconsecrated by the first bishop of Acireale, Gerlando Maria Genuardi, and by Luigi Cannavò, bishop of Smyrna, a native of Castiglione. Currently, the church presents a single nave ending with a very pronounced circular apse and does not reveal traces of lateral apses. The apse, on the lower outer part, is embellished with black stone ashlars from Mount Etna followed by rows of alternating sandstone and black stones. The remaining part is made of sandstone that continues up to the cornice, which is enriched with corbels supporting polylobed arches shaped like a seashell, and a cornice that originally was intended to extend over the entire building. In addition to several works of art, inside we can admire, on the floor of the transept, a sundial in white marble, sculpted, designed in 1882 by the Palermo-born Temistocle Zona. It is perfectly functional and shows astronomical midday.

This structure houses the ancient Norman Tower, later transformed into a bell tower. The visitor's experience includes exploring the ancient "bellringer's rooms", offering an immersion into the emotions of the past. The tour also includes access to the bell tower itself. Entrance to the church is free. Access to the Norman Tower with its rooms is through a 2 euro coin or QR code scanning.

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