The Church of Maria SS. dell’Annunziata, known as ‘’l’ Annunziata’’ is located in the lower part of the city’s historic centre, close to the ‘’serpentina’’, the Church of Sant’Orsola and the urban part of Termini Bassa. Today, the church is unfortunately not usable, as well as no longer being a place of worship. It is part of the living nativity scene’s path, organized in Termini.
Planimetry and front side
The religious community decided to build the Church of the Annunziata around the end of the 17th century, on the remains of an ancient medieval church whose existence has been known since 1409. Although today it is considered to be a 17th-century work, the original layout of the basilica was certainly inspired by the 14th century and it was done only an extension in the 17th century to incorporate the spaces of an old adjoining factory that resized the basic structure, giving it its current internal shape that it can be admired nowadays.
The Church and the treasures inside
It is accessed through an 18th-century portal with side volutes, surmounted by a moon with a blue background, where is depicted the Annunciation, through the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. There is a large garden in front of the entrance to the place of worship, walking along with it, we find the building, which welcomes the visitor with its ancient front side, referring to the architecture of the 14th century. Indeed, this latter is characterised by a smooth and undecorated appearance with three sober portals on it that have at the top of each one a simple neoclassical pediment. The presence of these three entrances mirrors the three naves inside, cut perpendicularly by a transept which, with its unbalanced position towards the apse, highlights the Latin cross plan of the basilica.
Bottom view of the Dome
Its primary feature is the magnificent dome, covered in sky-blue majolica, which dominates the city landscape. It rests on a robust octagonal tambour, which raises the astonishing dome’s mosaic a little higher towards the sky. Finally, a smaller dome rests above it, holding the crucifix at the top of the whole structure. The church does not appear to have a bell tower. However, this latter was present in the structure of the building, derived from an ancient Roman tower, but was demolished in 1930 because unsafe. The remains of it are visible on the outside.
Walking down the nave towards the apse, accompanied by the columns supporting the rounded arches on the sides, we arrive at the place where a beautiful ebony crucifix, donated by King Alfonso of Castile, was exhibited. Actually, it is possible to see the crucifix at the Duomo. Inside the Church of the Annunziata, there is also a wonderful nativity scene sculpted in marble by Andrea Mancino around the end of the 16th century. It depicts the Holy Family and it is considered one of the earliest examples of Sicilian nativity scene art.
- “Termini Imerese, itinerario turistico, elenco vie”
- “Censimento dei beni culturali di Termini Imerese”, Giovanna Mirabella
- “A spasso con Stenio”, di Manuela Sinatra e Barbara Indorante
Pictures: Kindly made available by Roberto Tedesco
Revision: Kindly made by Manuela Sinatra
Translation: Kindly made by Alice Scalia
by Andrea Arrigo