Church of San Cataldo, Sicily, Italy

The church of San Cataldo in Palermo dates from the 12th century and is a fine example of the Arab-Norman architecture that flourished in Sicily under Norman occupation of the island. The church was founded by Maio of Bari, chancellor to William I, in 1154, sadly Maio died before the completion of the church and that is one of the reasons why much of it remains unadorned. The roof of San Cataldo is ornamented with three red, bulge domes (cupola) and Arab style merlons, these are similar to medieval parapets or  battlements. During the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194) two palaces, three cathedrals, three churches and a bridge were built in this same style mixing Western, Islamic and Byzantine architecture. It appears the church may be named after an Irish St named Cathal or Cathaldus who passed through southern Italy and there are multiple churches erected in dedication to him both in Taranto (south Italy) and in Sicily. Strangely enough during the 18th century the church was used as a post office for a short while before being restored to its more original medieval form in the 19th century.

GPS: 38.11476, 13.36245

2 thoughts on “Church of San Cataldo, Sicily, Italy

  1. The departure of Cathaldus or Cathal from Ireland is commemorated on a small plaque at the entrance to the cemetery at Shanrahan, Clogheen, Co. Tipperary. As far as I can remember, he was from Whitechurch/Whitechapel, Co. Waterford, where he is also commemorated, and where a delegation came from Taranto a few years ago. P.S. There’s a ‘Sheila-na-Gig’ high up on the old church tower there too in Shanrahan, and the tomb of Fr. Sheehy is nearby.

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