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Piazza Nicola Spedalieri

The place of parties and all the public demonstrations

Some images (old and new) of the appea­rance and transfor­mation of the Piazza dedicated to the philosopher Nicola Spedalieri, the sym­bolic place of festivals and of all public events in Bronte.

In the images of the early 1900s (some taken between 1920 and 1930) we can see the church of San Sil­vestro (from 1500), the Monastery of San­ta Scolastica and the ancient monument to the fallen of 15-18.

The latter, inaugurated in 1922, once placed at the center of the squa­re, was, 20 years after the inauguration, completely demolished to donate iron and bron­ze to the homeland.

The marble pedestal and the headstone that supported the statue of Victory are what remains of the monument and are still visible inside the Memo­rial of the Fallen.

The Monastery of Santa Scolastica, built near the church, began to be built in 1608 and inau­gurated in 1616. It also incor­po­rated the preexi­sting church.

Later it was closed with the laws enacted in 1866, transformed into a hospital and later in the Fascio and the elementary schools.

VEDUTA DELLA NUOVA PIAZZA SPEDALIERIIt was completely demolished in the first half of the last century (1935) to build that little aesthetic but essential building that still hosts the elementary schools (the project bears the signature of the architect Anfuso).

Many have been the transformations that the square has undergone and that have completely distorted the harmony and lightness with which it presented itself at the origins.

Among the main benefits to remember that of 2006 when the then mayor Firrarello decided to restructure radically bringing, among other things, the surface on one floor. After some years of work, in 2009, the square was given back to the Bronte area redesigned and rebuilt - it was said - "to be the beautiful living room of an ever more lively, beautiful and hospitable town".

Not everyone agreed to the radical transformation and, as always, there was no shortage of criticism and controversy for a remake that, according to many Bronte, shocked even more the beauty and harmony of the ancient "chianu 'a Batia", become according to many "place without a soul".

Compared to the past, the surface of the new square was placed on a single floor (only the sidewalks on the sides remained), with a disappearing fountain with six distinct jets of water that started directly from the ground (it was deactivated after a few months) and of the seats in front of the elementary schools placed on a strange structure corrugated in cement.

UNO SCORCIO DELLA NUOVA PIAZZA SPEDALIERIIn addition, bringing the surface on one floor, eliminating the sidewalk and two entrance steps, has also led to the elevation of the area at the foot of the church of San Silvestro (see the three photos on the right).

This ended up by making the portal and also the whole prospect of the church less slender and more stocky, almost sunk into the ground.

A new architectural element (a lava stone portal that once characterized the entrance to the nearby municipal theater), reconstructed adjacent to the war memorial, contributed, in our view, even more, to change the original view of the square for the worse.

Under the portal was also discovered a plaque in memory of the inauguration («1 August 2009 - Firrarello Mayor») subject to repeated acts of vandalism. The transit of the cars in front of the church of San Silvestro has been eliminated and the whole square made (but only for a limited period of time) a pedestrian area.


Translated by Sam Di BellaITALIAN VERSION

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