The Santa Maria delle Scale Church in Ragusa is one of the city’s highlights. An added attraction is formed by the church square, which offers a beautiful panoramic view over the historical center of the city.
Santa Maria delle Scale Church Ragusa
Address: Corso Mazzini – Ragusa. Opening times: Saturdays from 10:00 till 12:30 and from 15:00 till 17:30 Sundays from 15:00 till 17:30. Ticket price: Free. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The orginal version of the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Scale was built in the 14th century. However, the spot was already occupied in the 10th century, by a small shrine dedicated to the Madonna.
In the first half of the 12th century a hospital was constructed on the site. This Cataratte hospital was run by Cistercian friars, who incorporated the shrine into the complex.
In the 14th century, the hospital was turned into a church, at the the time still dedicated to Santa Maria delle Cataratte.
The two left naves collapsed in the 1693 earthquake. However, the right one survived and preserves Multiple Gothic style decorations and architectural elements.
In the 18th century, the church was reconstructed in a Baroque style and, at the same time, enlarged.
The original layout is still more or less unchanged. The interior consists of three naves. There is no apse.
The present entrance is to the left of the center. Part of the original portal can be seen incorporated into the central part of the facade. It is flanked by a pulpit, which is also walled in.
The campanile contains three bells. The largest one was cast in 1628, the smallest one in 1878, and the middle one in the 20th century. The pulpit underneath the bell tower was made in 1552.
What to see
Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross)
The local artist Salvatore Cascone was responsible for the small paintings representing the “Stations of the Cross”(1972).
Madonna and Child
The second arch in the right nave is surmounted by a small sculpture of the “Madonna and Child.” The statuette is decorated with reliefs depicting flowers, branches and various fantastic animals.
Transit of the Virgin
One of the most beautiful works kept inside the church is located in one of the chapels of the right aisle. It is a polychrome terracotta altarpiece from Caltagirone that reproduces “.
The polychrome terracotta “Transit of the Virgin” in one of the chapels of the right aisle was sculpted in 1538.