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In Mineo old town there are several churches and public and private buildings of great historical and artistic value. We start our tour with the churches of Vineo before describing some of the other places of interest.
Church of S. Maria Maggiore
Among the religious buildings of Mineo it is the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, thought to date originally from the first half of the third century AD, that stands out. Damaged by several earthquakes and later rebuilt, it has a Latin cross plan and three naves separated by columns salvaged from an earlier pagan temple.
The façade, with three architectural orders, is particularly interesting:
- the first part is divided by four pilasters with Doric capitals and three entrances;
- the second has Ionic capitals, a window in the centre and two niches at the sides and (above the window) the coat of arms of the Buglio family, who restored the church after the earthquake in the 16th century;
- the third level has three arches separated by Corinthian pilasters with capitals. At the top is a big sun in memory of the original pagan temple.
Also in the facade there is an ancient portal that once belonged to the castle of Ducetius.
Inside the church there are several works of interest such as a 16th century stone baptismal font, an alabaster statue depicting the “Queen of Angels” (11th century), a marble sink by Girolamo Mazzola (1500-1569), and various paintings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Church of Saint Agrippina
The Church of St. Agrippina, dedicated to the patron saint of Mineo, also dates originally from the third century and was also damaged and rebuilt after earthquakes. This church has three naves separated by paired columns and a Greek cross plan, with an interior full of stucco, paintings and frescoes.
The stuccoes are attributed to Giacomo Serpotta (1656-1732), while some 18th century paintings that decorate the vaults and the central dome are by Sebastiano Monaco (1749-1798).
The polychrome wood statue of St. Agrippina is by Vincenzo Archifel (1461-1533), and also noteworthy are the late 16th century sarcophagus of Angela de Guerriero ad the portal of the chapel of S. Agrippina.
Mineo Church of St. Peter
The Church of St. Peter has a Baroque facade on three levels and has a Latin cross plan with three naves separated by columns. In the central part the main portal has a rich frieze on the architrave and a triangular pediment.
On either side of the portal there are four columns with Doric capitals, and in the two smaller side compartments are portals that enter the aisles of the church.
The main altar is covered with onyx marble and features a large wooden crucifix among six large metal candelabra.
Also in this church see the chapel of "Christ at the Column" with a marble entrance that frames an oil painting depicting the scene of the "Flagellation of Jesus". Inside the chapel is a statue of Christ with his arms tied behind his back and a silver column.
Church of St. Thomas
In Piazza Buglio you can see the Church of Saint Thomas (also known as the Church of the College) by Natale Masuccio (1568-1619). With a Latin cross plan the church is enriched by a Baroque altar with columns.
Among the works of art in this church we mention the wrought-iron balustrade of the old church of St. Benedict, the sarcophagus of the “De Guerriero”, the 17th century marble altars and a carved wooden pulpit of the 18th century.
Other Mineo churches
Other important churches in Mineo include the Church of San Francesco, from the 15th century and with a stone portal. Inside there is the altar of St. Francis of Paola, enriched by a painting of the saint dating from the 17th century and a wooden statue of St. John the Baptist (also 17th century).
Finally we must mention the Church of St. Mary of Odigitria with its decorative altarpiece.
Other monuments of interest in Mineo
Among other monuments worthy of note, the ancient 'Adinolfo Gate' is the only remaining gate from the five original gates into the medieval city.
The gate was rebuilt in the 18th century and was dedicated to Adinolfo, who led the insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers in Mineo.
Among the civil buildings, the Town Hall in particular stands out and was built by Natale Masuccio from Messina. This building dominates "Buglio Square" with its long façade and three floors, and has a monumental staircase, columns and a clock.
Other civic buildings that are very typical of the old town in Mineo are the Palaces of Tamburini, Capuana, Morgana and Ballarò-Sancetta, which are located at the top of the village next to the Church of Saint Maria Maggiore, and the Castle of Ducetius.
Following the earthquake of 1693, we can now see the old ramparts and central tower of the castle.
Mineo is also particularly rich in museums. Among the most significant are the Civic Museum, with exhibits from various eras such as Paleolithic flint tools, animal bones, prehistoric and Bronze Age tools, and material recovered from various tombs, pottery and ornaments.
The Ethno-anthropological Museum is dedicated to the rural traditions and dialects of Mineo. There is also a museum dedicated to Luigi Capuana.
The region around Mineo is also worth a visit.
Among the highlights is the Castle of Serravalle, located in the "Contrada Serravalle" and probably dating from the 14th century which has a central tower, crenellated walls and the remains of settlements of Greek times.
These ruins are from the ancient Sicilian city of Menai, the so-called “Rocchicella” which was the site of Palikè, the ancient sanctuary of the Palikoi.
As usual in Sicilian towns we complete our visit to Mineo with a tasting of the local products, such as blood oranges, black olives and white cheese, ricotta, and snails, a typical dish of the city.
See also history of Mineo
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.