Located in the former vicarage of the old Mother Church, the  museum exhibits jewerly, ornaments and fine vestments proving not only the wealth of the city since the Middle Ages being the bishop’s see, but also the great ability of the goldsmiths and weavers of the time. The artistic heritage of the museum clearly shows the great devotion of the Christian community of Termini Imerese since the 16th century. All the liturgical objects such as reliquaries, monstrances, incense burners and boats are exhibited following a chronological order from those in Catalan-Gothic style to those in Reinassance and baroque styles or dating back to 1800 and 1900 until the so-called “Tesoro della Immacolata” (meaning “treasure of the Immaculate Conception). The local community in fact has been devoted to the Madonna since 1600, as it is engraved in a memorial stone of the Mother Church. The tour starts with the oldest gilded silver reliquaries of the museum, those of Saint Calogero and Saint Gerhard. Both of them show the typical Gothic-Catalan style structure with spires and pinnacles on top of the domes and mullioned windows in the central knot. In the second room there are two other reliquaries: a silver shrine and the admirable reliquary of the “Virgin’s hair”, a monstranceshaped reliquary containing all the iconographic elements typical of the late baroque with its putti, cherubs and floral decorations. This patterns will be developed at the best in the next room, dedicated to one of greatest 18th century silversmiths of Palermo: Domenico La Villa. The liturgical objects that he created between 1743 and 1757 are richly decorated with micro-sculptures and embodiments of the virtues. In the impressive monstrance with the angel, the central knot is replaced by a cloud with a baroque angel on topas an atlas supporting the shrine surrounded by rays and small winged heads looking downwords. Evidently, on of the aims of the museum its to focuson pieces coming from the folk tradition: among silver object, jewels and religious ornaments there is a delicate wax infant figure within a wood showcase dating back to the beginning of 1900’s. The silver incense boat of the clear mythological inspiration is also noteworthy: its design, almost recalling Cellini’s style, evokes the neoclassical saltcellars made up of two Tritons on round base twisting their tails and holding two small shell-shaped cups joined with a decorative element with the monogram of Christ. In the central showcase of the forth room there is a chasuble in pink taffeta embroidered with gold and silver threads reproducing religious symbols ad birds of Paradise, pomegranates and poppies. The terrace offers an amazing view of the city and its gulf where the blue majolica dome of the baroque Church of the Annunziata stands out. In this church began the votive offerings of the fishermen to their beloved Black Crucifix: small boat symbolizing a wreck avoided and fishes to receive the grace of a good catch. In the middle of the hall exhibiting the so-called “Tesoro della Immacolata”, there is the seventeenth-century statue of the Virgin, venerated by the locals until it was replaced by the statue made by Quattrocchi in 1799 and which is now located in the namesake chapel of the Mother Church. In the hall, big boards gather all the votive offerings of the faithful which, until 1979, covered the whole with gold during the religious procession of 8 December. Ordered by the type instead of by date, here we find rings, cameos, earrings and other jewels representing Marian symbols like the Tower, the M for Mary, the Crown and the Stellario. Two glass cases hold the jewels used for the statue ornament during the procession: a pair of bowshaped earrings with diamond and rubies dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, donated by a local noble family, and a yellow gold necklace with an oval pendant holding a miniature on parchment representing Saint Joseph with the Child Jesus.

Bibliografia:

  • “Termini Imerese: ritorno alla Civitas Splendidissima” della Dott.ssa Manuela Sinatra incluso in “I Beni culturali”; anno 2012