53. Angelo Italia (1628 – 1700)

Jesuit and Baroque architect born in Licata, son of a master mason, from whom he received technical training. Italia’s characteristic feature of work was the use of the hexagonal shape (i.e. Chapel of the Crucifix in the Cathedral of Monreale, St. Francis Xavier in Palermo, and the street plan of Avola.

Italia’s first work as an architect was the construction of the Chiesa di Sant’Angelo Carmelitano in Licata (1653), followed by the Chiesa Madre in Palma di Montechiaro (1666). In 1671 he joined the order of the Jesuits (at the age of 43) and after his novitiate in Messina in 1671–1672, he went to the Jesuit College in Palermo.

Between 1685 and 1692 was in the service of the powerful and cultured Carlo Carafa Branciforte, Prince of Butera, for the realisation of the Chiesa Santa Maria della Neve (Church of St. Mary of the Snow) in Mazzarino.

After the devastating east Sicilian earthquake of 1693, Italia designed the cities of Avola, then Lentini, and then Noto. These three new urbanization projects establish him as the most important figure in the reconstruction.

He remained in eastern Sicily until he returned to Palermo in 1700, where he died.

Read More
1. Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/angelo-italia_(Dizionario_Biografico)/
2. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelo_Italia

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