The Basilica della Collegiata was built in the early 18th century, after the earthquake of 1693 that had destroyed most of the city.
The design of the church is attributed to Angelo Italia (1628–1700), who changed the orientation of the previous edifice destroyed by the earthquake, in order to have it facing the new via Uzeda (current Etnea Street) according to the rebuilding plan of the city. The façade, designed by the polish architecte Stefano Ittar (1724–1790), is one of the most notable examples of late Baroque in Catania.
It has two orders, the first of which featuring six stone columns, surmounted by a balustrade. The second order has a large central window, with, at the sides, four large statues of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Agatha and St. Apollonia. Over the second floor is a central element housing the bells.
The church is accessed through a large staircase on which, delimiting the parvise, is a wrought iron parapet.
The interior follows a common basilica plan, with a nave and two aisles divided by two pilasters, and three apses. The central apse is rather elongated to house the rectory.
The right aisle is home to a baptistery and three altars with canvasses of saints. At the end of the aisles is the Immaculate altar, preceded by a marble balaustrade, over which is a marble statue of the Madonna. In the apse of the nave is the high altar, with an icon of the Virgin with a Child, a copy of a Byzantine original in the sanctuary of Biancavilla. Behind the altar are an 18th-century wooden organ and a wooden choir.
The left aisle, in the apse area, houses the Holy Sacrament Chapel, with a marble altar. The vaults and the dome were frescoed in 1896 by Giuseppe Sciuti with scenes of the Life of Mary, Angels and Saints.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.