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“Monastry turned into a university”

Monastero dei Benedettini
Ranked #2 of 193 things to do in Catania
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Il Monastero di San Nicolo l'Arena di Catania (#monasterocatania), gioiello del tardo barocco siciliano e tra i complessi benedettini piu' grandi d'Europa. L'edificio monastico, che nasce nel '500 e si sviluppa fino ai giorni nostri, e' un esempio di integrazione architettonica tra le epoche: contraddistinto da molteplici trasformazioni oggi e' patrimonio mondiale dell'Unesco. Sede del DiSUM (dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche) dell'Universita' degli Studi di Catania, custodisce al suo interno due domus romane, i chiostri e un intero piano costruito da G. B. Vaccarini sopra il banco lavico del 1669. Dal 2010 Officine Culturali, in collaborazione con l'Universita degli Studi di Catania, si occupa della valorizzazione del Monastero dei Benedettini. Il Monastero e' considerato uno dei beni culturali piu' significativi del meridione d'Italia. La missione assunta da Officine Culturali consiste nel rendere accessibile e comprensibile il Monastero nel migliore dei modi e al maggior numero di persone possibile. A tal scopo Officine Culturali ha attivato un'offerta di fruizione variegata e dinamica. Attraverso il servizio di visite guidate giornaliero e' possibile conoscere gli aspetti piu' significativi dell'ex plesso monastico. I percorsi guidati per i piu' piccoli sono arricchiti dai laboratori, dove la narrazione delle "arti e mestieri" benedettini e' svolta in maniera creativa e divertente da professionisti della didattica dell'arte, dell'architettura, delle tradizioni e delle scienze. Oltre al quotidiano svolgimento delle attivita' di promozione, valorizzazione, informazione e accoglienza, Officine Culturali e' promotrice di iniziative ed eventi culturali e di intrattenimento, finalizzati a rendere il Monastero uno spazio di integrazione e aggregazione per la collettivita'.
Reviewed 25 October 2017

It is one of the larger old constructs in Catania. You can take a (Italian or English) guided tour - check the schedule. Or wander around yourself with a map. Entrance is free. It is a university building nowadays, so there are students all around. It is nice to see that an old building can still be used!

Thank Roel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4 - 8 of 1,684 reviews

Reviewed 25 October 2017

This former monastery encapsulates a lot of the history of the city of Catania, with a bank of lava forming part of the foundations, the conversion of the monastery into a university building and so on. We went on a Sunday when there were no students around and that may have been an advantage - it meant we could go into the admin offices (formerly the abbot's private suite, with amazing frescoes) which can't be visited during the week. The tour was in Italian but we were given English information sheets before hand so it wasn't difficult to follow and our guide at times gave added explanations in English and Spanish for the non-Italians in the group of 20.

The building is huge and fascinating - lovely restored cloister garden too. The church, the dining area with ceramic tiled floors and the old cellars were all interesting in different ways. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit and learned a lot.

We were also lucky to catch an organic food market being held in the courtyard outside the monastery buildings - don't know how often these happen (it was the second Sunday in October) but it was fun to look round the stalls and they had some very good lunch options and fresh new season's pomegranate juice to drink.

1  Thank scarletgleam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2017 via mobile

Massive complex of monastery buildings, it features an 'info point'. Great for architecture geeks. Founded in the 16th century, now it belongs to the university and is lively with students.

Thank afs216
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Reviewed 15 October 2017

we are english speaking and had to join in on an italian tour. Even with limited translation of what we were seeing it was well worth the time. It is hard to fathom all that the building has been through and how it is used now. We both loved the tour and seeing the building and imagining what life was like when people lived in it.

1  Thank pjcharles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2017

A place we’d read we should visit. It took a while to find our way in and then you could wander around what is now part of the university. It was Saturday and there was a medical conference on. We found the church next door and part of the Monastery more interesting. If you want you can pay €3 and climb to the roof for fabulous views across Catania. The climb up the spiral stairs was worth it!

Thank Moira S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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