The church of Placa of Serravalle
The countryside church (named "Placa di Serravalle") is placed at a few kilometers from Bronte, in agricultural grounds where
the Troina torrent joins the Simeto river.
Of small dimensions it is incorporated in a corner of the masseria.
"The lonely small church, to whose feet rumbles the
Simeto" (so speaks Benedetto Radice), was built by the baron Francesco
Serravalle towards the half of the XIX century, and was dedicated to
San Francesco di Paola.
Today the church, deconsecrated and in decay, inside stripped of
everything, is used as store and box room by the Agricultural Company that
Its longitudinal plan, with the entry from the short side, got also a
small and delicious belfry.
The outside presents itself in good state.
The front is characterized by a singular gable with three
In the lower part, in correspondence of the "eye" of the gable,
there is the portal in sandstone stone with tympanum.
Above the left cusp emerges the small belfry composed of four robust
pieces in lava stone.
Originally the church had a pseudo-octagonal shape with
pointed arches under which, to the four corners, there were other small
arches, divided by columns.
Four columns, in lava stone, with bases in sandstone (parts of them are
still visible inside), and capitals with acanthus leaves supported the
four principal arches.
This little church and the environment in which
it stands definitely deserves a visit.
In front of the church there is an astonishing landscape of the valley,
(the most fertile in the territory), of Bronte and Etna, the Norman
bridge of Serravalle (XIII° century) on the Troina river, the
characteristic "leaps" of the Cantera under the
homonymous bridge over the Simeto, the remains of an
ancient water mill.
The ground degrades
slowly to the river that here begins its erosion work giving origin to the
protected zone of the Ingrottato lavico
(lava grottoes) of the Simeto.
Unfortunately in this last period,
among the general indifference of those who should be on guard, the rudeness of
some people changed the pleasant place (especially the zone close to the two
bridges) in almost a dump.