The church of Madonna del Carmine in Bagnara Calabra dates to the end of the 18th century and bears testimony to the reconstruction that followed the earthquakes that hit the region in 1783. It is a magnificent example of late Baroque architecture.
Echoes of the Greek past
The Sanctuary rises on the outskirts of the town of Bagnara Calabra, on a hill adjacent to state road SS18. It has a bell tower to the side and a single nave ending in a domed apse with a lunette, and it enshrines a rich art heritage, with fourteen medallions depicting the apostles and biblical scenes from the Old Testament, by Gianforma, renowned 18th century stucco-worker from Palermo. The walls are lavishly decorated with gilded panels and floral bas-reliefs, which adorn the vaulted ceiling and the walls of the conch, and form festoons along the front of the triumphal arch. The highly refined floor is composed of multi-coloured marble slabs, whose shine is enhanced by the light flooding in through the windows. The tall vertical structure and some architectural features, such as the elliptical pediment on the facade, call to mind the ancient Greek heritage of the region. The green wooden door is surmounted by a large window and is flanked by columns with Greek style ionic capitals supporting the architrave. In the centre of the pediment, a finely decorated rose window exalts the shape of the entablature. Developing over three levels, the square-base bell tower that rises to the left of the sanctuary has decorative elements matching those of the facade.
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In the interior of the church, of special interest is a Dark Virgin icon, which has Byzantine style features but in all probability dates to the 16th century.
The Angelo Versace Museum
The Angelo Versace Museum, established by the Archconfraternity of Maria SS. del Carmelo, Bagnara Calabra, with the aim to raise awareness of the sacred art and documentary heritage of the brotherhood, is comprised of two sections: a religious art section, displaying church furnishings and liturgical vestments coming from workshops active between the 18th and 19th centuries in Messina and Naples; and an archaeological section, with findings from different eras, from the Copper Age to the Byzantine-Norman period.