The seventeenth century was for Acireale a golden century.
The city preserves intact the forms of Sicilian Baroque, in its houses, lava portals, and in the winding backstreets. Splendid examples of Baroque are the city palace, the basilica of St Sebastiano and the buildings in Via Dafnica.
Inspite of the serious damage incurred during the earthquake of 1693, the city was rebuilt, with the construction of the splendid architecture which is still possible to admire today, following the religious and cultural itineraries.
Cultural Itinerary
Town Hall, example of 1659 Baroque
The Church of St Peter and Paul (700)
The Cathedral (1597-1618)
The Church of St Domenico
Palazzo Musmeci
Zelantea Library
The Church of St. Sebastiano
Religious – Artistic Itinerary
Acireale, famous in Sicily for its 100 bell-towers, offers its visitors an itinerary dedicated exclusively to its churches where you can find prestigious examples of Sicilian Baroque, as well as various alfrescos by Pietro Paolo Vasta, who was one of the most renowned Sicilian artists of the seventeenth century. The work of other local artists of the same period can also be admired, for example Giacinto Platania, Alessandro Vasta, and Michele Vecchio.

In particular, 7 Acireale churches have been chosen for their outstanding beauty:

The Cathedral of Maria S.S. Annunziata
Painted with alfrescos in 1710 by the Filocamo brothers, well-known artists from Messina, and the dome, painted by P. Vasta.

The Church of St Peter and Paul
Noteworthy for its two sculptures, venerated for centuries: Christ on the column and Christ in death.

The Church of St. Sebastiano
It is located on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, near Piazza Domo, on the right hand side. A statue-topped balustrade crowns the Baroque façade of the church, combining columns, pilasters, niches and volutes. The transept and the chancel, inside, contain frescoes by Vasta depicting scenes from the life of St. Sebastiano.

The Church of Santa Maria del Suffragio
Situated in the ancient “strada della marina”, this church hosts alfrescos by P. Vasta and his son, Alessandro.

The Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
A tiny church characterised by its alfrescos of characters from the Old Testament

The Church of Nostra Signora del Presepe (The Grot of the Crib)
In an ancient lava grotto, integral part of the actual church which according to local legend was the hiding place for murderers, or even the dwelling of demons and horrid beasts, was discovered by chance during a storm, by sacerdotal Mariano Valerio. He was so enchanted by the place that he thought of mounting a nativity scene. He commissioned local craftsmen to create the life-size models, real masterpieces made of wax and wood.

Sanctuary S.S. Loreto
This church is also small and intimate, built by Giovanni Maccarone in 1700.