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Naso is a town on the north-eastern coast of Sicily betwen Cefalu (to the west) and Messina (to the east).
Earthquakes have had a severe effect on the heritage of the town of Naso, including the loss of a 9th century castle in the earthquake of 1786. The castle, along with the village and mother Church, once stood along the ridge that separates Naso from the valley of the river Zappulla.
Despite the heavy losses Naso still possesses an excellent artistic and building heritage, especially among its churches which will form the main focus of your visit.
Start your visit to Naso at the ancient Mother Church, dedicated to the Apostles Philip and James. The church has three naves, and apses separated by monolithic columns and decorated arches. The church altar and tabernacle are by the school of Antonello Gagini (1478-1536).
The altar is surmounted by a beautifully decorated wooden choir adorned with statues and tortile columns. Note also the 16th century Chapel of Maria del Rosario, in Carrara marble and which contains the “Madonna with Child”, attributed to the school of Antonello Gagini. There is also a wooden crucifix by the Neapolitan school dating from the 17th century.
Church of SS. Salvatore
The Church of SS. Salvatore dates from the 14th century. The church square is made from the terracotta of Naso on which stand two bell towers. The church is divided into three naves with monolithic columns that support arches that have been partially decorated with stucco.
On the altar stands a wooden statue of the Madonna and Child, and a marble triptych, attributed to Antonello Gagini, depicts the "Virgin and Child with St. Paul of the Cross and St. Gregory the Great".
Among the paintings, note "St. Jerome" by Gaspare Camarda (1570-1630), the Immaculate attributed to the school of the so-called “Zoppo di Gangi” (1588-1630), "S. Francesco di Paola” by Antonino Grano (1660 c. - 1718) and the " Madonna dell'Itria ", attributed to Filippo Tancredi (1655-1722).
Church of San Cono
The Naso Church of San Cono dates from the late 16th century and has three naves divided by columns with monolithic stone round archs. In the aisles there are 17th century paintings, including one representing "Sant Antonio of Padua" by the “Zoppo di Gangi", the story of S. Anthony of Padua, and a "Circumcision" by Pietro d'Asaro (1579-1647).
In the catacombs of the church there is a crypt in baroque style; it has a Latin cross form with four altars, in one of which are the relics of San Cono, protected by three iron curtains with seven keys. The chapel was designed by Bartolomeo Travaglio (17th century).
Convent of the Friars Minor
The Convent of the Friars Minor and the adjoining Church of St. Mary of Jesus date from the 15th century. Inside there is a painting of the Immaculate Conception attributed to Deodato Guinaccia (1510-c.1585), and a painting of Our Lady by the Gagini school (16th century).
You can also see the Tombs of the local Earls, made between the 16th and 17th centuries, including the Gothic monument to Count Artale Cardona (15th century), the founder of the convent, by Domenico Gagini (1420-1492).
Naso Museum of Sacred Art
In the catacombs of the Church you can visit the Naso Museum of Sacred Art with silver vestments and church plate (chalices, reliquaries, monstrances, crucifixes), and many paintings including the “Madonna with the Sleeping Child” (14th century) and two paintings by Olivio Sozzi (1690-1765).
The first section of the Museum displays some wooden sculptures and ceramics from the 15th-17th centuries. In the second section there are old vestments and a bronze bell. The third section holds the "Madonna with Sleeping Child”, attributed to the school of Joos van Cleve ( 1485 ca. - 1540). The last section exhibits silverware such as cups, relics and crucifixes.
Other notable monuments
Finally in the old town of naso you ca see the palaces that historically belonged to the local noble families, such as Piccolo Palace, Palazzo Giuffrè and Milici Palace, which are close to the religious buildings.
Area around Naso, Sicily
The landscape around Naso is characterized by large expanses of olive trees, and hazel and citrus groves. In hamlets among these you can also visit several old churches, such as the the 15th century Church of San Biagio.
In this pleasant landscape, besides enjoying the artistic heritage, visitors should also be sure to try the local Sicilian cuisine, which shares certain characteristics across the island but also differs from area to area. At Naso, for example, do not forget to try the so-called “Sospiri di Monaca”.
See also Naso history and etymology.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.