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:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.