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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 owns it.

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 cusps.

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. 


 
Chiesa della Placa di Serravalle (S. Francesco)

The front of the little church with the characteristic three cusps gable. The side of the church seen from inside the Masse­ria.

Opposite the church, the ridge Serravalle (sec. XIII) and the start of the protected Simeto lava Grottos. The view from the Serravalle district: Bronte and Etna between the green orchards and the "sciara".

Bronte, Chiesa di S. Francesco di Paola

The ancient Water mill, built opposite the church on the bank of river Troina.


 


Translated by Sam Di Bella


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