Sanctuary of San Francesco da Paola

It was built by the saint himself on the site of an ancient church of S. Biagio dei Ragusei, during his stay in Milazzo from January 1465 and it was dedicated to Jesus and Mary. The current prospectus is the result of successive renovations, especially following the siege of 1718.

The façade, made with the pink stone from Syracuse, is a Baroque style construction and has two columns with Corinthian capitals that support the wrought iron balcony. On top of it, it is found a large Charitas emblem with rays. On the sides there are some windows with imaginative rococo decorations.

It was radically restored in the XVIII century when a spectacular staircase was added and where we find the statue of S. Francesco di Paola, built in 1760. The convent, adjacent to the sanctuary, was partly used as a school in past years and today is the Carabinieri headquarters. The north entrance (towards the Castle) is from the 1600s with decorations from the 1700s; the one to the east (to the east) leads to the ground floor of the ancient cloister.

The two altars on the left, on the other hand, are characterized by an arched altarpiece from the 18th century which depicts S. Francesco Saverio with the Madonna, S. Onofrio and S. Giovanni Nepomuceno, and a Chapel dedicated to Jesus and Mary entirely covered with wooden rococo decoration carved and gilded on mirrors which has, inside, a niche of a small Madonna sculpture placed. They alternate with marble panels containing six canvases depicting episodes from the life of the Saint.

The high altar, commissioned in 1751 by Baron Paolo Lucifero (whose emblem of arms is placed at the two extremes of the altar), is decorated with two allegorical marble sculptures named Hope and theFaith. The upper niche, which contains the effigy of St. Francis, is the work of 1916 by Gaetano and it occupies the place where once it was found the painting of the Saint that was lost during the fire of 10 May 1908 together with the artworks that enriched the sanctuary at that time.

The fourteen stalls of the walnut choir that surrounds the main altar dates to 1759-60. The choir loft is impressive, it was completed in 1760, where the organ is placed and dominated by the famous beam of the miracle.  The sacristy contains a beautiful baroque piece of furniture in walnut from 1693, a sink in polychrome marble of elegant workmanship and a seventeenth-century wooden crucifix.

In the treasury of the sanctuary, it is found: a reliquary of 1772 with the Cap of the Saint, donated in 1518 by the French Father Francesco Cerdonis, General of the Minims; a reliquary with a piece of the cloak of St. Francis (18th century); goblets, monstrance and censer, five frontals embroidered in gold and chasubles from the seventeenth and eighteenth century and two wooden crucifixes.

The numerous sepulchral monuments at walls and the crypt with a stucco altar where the remains of Father Francesco Cerdonis were placed (1518), and of Angela Leonte (1559), Tertiary virgin who died with a reputation for holiness, have the same art value as the rest of works found in the sanctuary.

To be noticed the adjoining convent that gave hospitality to eminent personalities including the Viceroy Ettore Pignatelli (early 1520s), Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Viceroy Philip II ofSpain (1622) and, in 1678, Ludovico Fernandez Portocarrero, Cardinal, Archbishop of Toledo.Inside one of the rooms on the ground floor of the convent it was found in the 1930s , an important mosaic of the Hellenistic - Roman era (II century BC), that proves the existence of ​​a public building or a patrician villa of a certain value.