From the Castle to the Chiesa Madre

Ancient symbols of power
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Chiesa di Santa Maria in Valle di Josaphat

On the eastern side of the hill stands the church of Santa Maria in Valle of Josaphat or of Gancia. Built in 1072 at the behest of Great Count Roger and his wife Adelasia, only the massive and compact architecture, typical, with its battlements, of the medieval ecclesiae munitae remains of the ancient splendour. Unadorned, it has kept its 14th century Gothic portal while inside it has retained the wooden trussed ceiling of the first part of the 16th century and a large crucifix, also dating back to the 16th century. In the open space in front of the temple interesting medieval graves have recently been discovered. Almost behind the church stands the Palazzo delle Arti (building of the Arts), a 19th century building (former city hospital) restored and used for exhibitions and conferences. In the back area one can still see the remains of what, in the Norman-Swabian era, was the annexed and wealthy Benedictine monastery.

From here we return to the Porta del Borgo (city gate) through which we must pass to come back down to the lower city. Immediately to the left stands the long, compact 17th century façade of the Palazzo Moncada, while on the right stands the tiny church of the Santissimo Sacramento, also dating back to the 17th century.