The Church of Saint Dominic hosts the burials of many figures of Sicilian history and culture. For this reason it is known as the 'Pantheon of illustrious Sicilians'.
The origin of the building dates back to the Middle Ages. A first Dominican church was built on this site between 1280 and 1285. The church was in Norman–Gothic style and it was also fitted with a convent and a cloister that represented a small and simple reproduction of the more famous Benedectine cloister of Monreale. Inside this primitive church the son of James I of Cyprus, Odo, was buried in 1420 (or 1421).
At the beginning of the 15th century the medieval church became too small for the needs of a growing community of believers. For this reason the friars sought the financial aid of Pope Martin V and of the wealthiest families of Palermo. The new church was built in Renaissance style. However, through the natural course of time, also this building became too small for the liturgical needs of friars and believers. Therefore, in 1630, the Dominicans of Palermo commissioned architect Andrea Cirrincione to build a new church. Ten years after, on 2 February 1640, there was the groundbreaking ceremony. The work required many decades. The Baroque façade was completed in 1726, while the left bell tower dates from 1770.
During the Sicilian revolution of 1848, in this church the Sicilian Parliament was called under the leadership of Ruggero Settimo. In 1853 the church became the pantheon of illustrious Sicilians.
The convent, founded in 1300, is located north of the church and can be accessed from the latter's north aisle. The cloister, founded by the Chiaramonte family, has column and arches including manufacts from the early 13th century building.
The walls have paintings portraying Dominican saints, scenes of Apocalypse, of the Last Judgement and works by Nicola Spalletta from Caccamo. The interior houses a refectory and a large library.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.