Monastero, veduta dall'alto

It was the fortress controlling the access to the Agrò Valley: along the course of the stream, located on the northern slope. It is a fortified monastery, which exercised a defensive function, with loopholes, windows, battlements and a walkable roof. The monks were also equipped not only with you-knows and sandals, but above all with weapons and swords, precisely because of the particular condition of isolation of the Monastery. It is the best preserved in the province of Messina: characterised by the polychromy of lava stone, basalt and light black pumice stone, limestone, and terracotta, used in various ways: in parallel layers of cut, knife and wolf's tooth, so as to create chromatic contrasts.

Given the dating of the restoration, which took place in 1172Thanks to the contribution of Abbot Gerasimo and the architect Gerardo il Franco, the monastery was the prototype, the forerunner of what was to become the great heritage of the Norman cathedrals of Messina, Catania, Monreale and Cefalù. The territory was already frequented in Roman times, as evidenced by the village of Scifì, a hamlet of Forza d'Agrò.
In the structure of the church there are a series of Greek bricks, while various theses claim that a large part of the stone and stone spoils, such as columns, come from the Teatro Antico of Taormina.

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