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Torre dei Falconieri

Leaving the archaeological museum and following the narrow Via Falconieri we can see to the right the medieval Arco dei Falconieri, one of the gates to the ancient city. Through the Arch, we can glimpse the surprising presence of another interesting monument, the 14th century Tower of Falconieri or dell’Itria, a delightful building in two colours, crenellated in the Ghibelline style, perhaps used for training hunting hawks, and in the 16th century adapted to form the bell tower of the annexed church of Our Lady of Itria. This small holy building (year of the plague in Paternò) was dedicated to S. Barbara up until 1576; inside there are interesting altar paintings, and the Madonna del Mercede of 1695 stands out over everything. From Piazza Diaz (Spina plane) starts the climb towards the historic hill through Via Chiarenza: a narrow, steep and straight flight of steps in lava stone, cutting through the ancient buildings, it is as impressive as it is functional. Along the steps one can admire the 16th century Portal Las Casas, a fine example of Plateresque art, and the prestigious remains of a noble palace. Having completed the climb, rising before one’s eyes is the magnificent monumental stairway, the Scalinata della Matrice (1780) that, with its set of blind arches on either side, culminates in the magnificent neoclassical façade of Santa Maria dell’Alto, the mother church.