In 1332 the inhabitants of quarter of San Vito moved near the castle of the Counts of Modica, and for this reason a new mother church was built in the same place where the present one is located and it is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption. This church opened to worship in 1402, was built in a Catalan-Gothic style with a nave and two side aisles and had a wooden ceiling and side chapels not aligned. It was enlarged and modified in 1471, 1530-1558 and 1581.
Today we can only see the bell tower with double lancet windows (restored in 1942), the chapel of the Holy Thorn and the Baptistery.
The church was rebuilt in 1669 by Giuseppe Diamante and Angelo Italia, while the neo-classical façade was realized in 1786 by Emanuele Cardona.
The garden adjoining the church, since the 15th century, was used as a cemetery for poor people, with an altar where to celebrate Mass during maladies and a stone cross with an aedicula sacred to Our Lady of Mercy. In the 20th century it became a public garden and in 1929 they placed the War Memorial, realized by Bentivegna, a sculptor from Sciacca.
The church has a basilican plan with a nave and two side aisles which are divided by two rows of columns with monolithic marble shafts extracted from the near mount Bonifato. The stuccoes were made by the Curtis, while the floor was realized on the architect Giuseppe Patricolo's plan.
The interior contains 38 frescos by Guglielmo Borremans.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.