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Grammichele is a city of about 15,000 in the province of Catania, set 520m a.s.l.
It was founded by refugees from the neighboring farming village of Occhiolà who survived a terrible earthquake in 1693. It is based on a concentric urban structure with a hexagonal perimeter,
and divided into five quarters plus one where the Prince family originally resided.
The Mother Church – Dedicated to San Michele, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in town. The vault is ornamented with 1800’s stuccoes depicting the Twelve Apostles and Events of the Life of Jesus Christ. Other interesting stuccoes adorn the Chapel of the Holy Sacrement. The church contains precious works of art, such as two 1600’s paintings depicting San Nicola di Bari and the “Disputa di Santa Caterina”.
Santuario della Madonna del Piano – The shrine of the Madonna del Piano lies in the city surroundings north-west of Terravecchia district. This religious building, erected in the 15th century and miraculously unharmed by 1693’s quake, has a simple structure. Its frontage has a central doorway with a window above. Its walls bear interesting frescoes illustrating events related to Madonna del Piano’s life.
A number of minor churches are worth-seeing. Among these are the churches of the Holy Spirit, of San Leonardo, Sant’Anna and San Giuseppe.
A final mention must go the the Palazzo Comunale, the city hall, housing the Municipal Museum (on the first floor) displaying relics recovered from the Terravecchia district, where the ancient city once lay.
Occhiolà Archaeological Park – The Occhiolà park is located on a hill in the Terravecchia district where the Medieval settlement of Occhiolà lay before being destroyed by an earthquake in 1693. The park was established to maintain and safeguard the archaeological and cultural patrimony of the area. The visitors can enjoy guided walks or even take part in archaeological excavations.