The Basilica della Collegiata (also known as Santa Maria dell'Elemosina) is an example of Sicilian Baroque.
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The church 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, 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 Stefano Ittar, is one of the most notable examples of Sicilian Baroque in Catania.
It has two orders, the first of which featuring six stone columns, surmounted by a balaustrade. 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.
Interior is on the basilica plan, with a nave and two aisles divided by two pilasters, and three apses. The central apse is rather elongated to house of 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.