SANT'AGATA LI BATTIATI
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Sant’Agata li Battiati is a small town located on a hilly slope north of Catania, bordered by the cities of Gravina di Catania, Tremestieri Etneo, San Giovanni La Punta and Trappeto. Its history is closely related to the neighboring Catania’s as far as it became an autonomous city. It was named after Catania’s patron saint Virgin and Martyr following a devastating eruption in 1444, whose river flow threatened to destroy all the south-western flank of the Volcano. Two lava flows, emanated by Monte Arso and Montepeloso, as is reported by Giuseppe Recupero (1720-1778); the first stopped by Bonaccorsi, the second, after invading Tremestieri and S. Giovanni La Punta, threatened to enter Catania. Then, citizens and authorities asked the Bishop Giovanni De Pescibus the permission to carry Sant’Agata’s veil in procession; that miraculously halted the ravaging river at the gates of the city. Right there, in the quarter then called “dei Valenti”, a small church was soon erected. In 1635, the proprietor of that area, Catanian judge Lorenzo D’Arcangelo, wanted to build a greater temple, as a sign of devotion to the Saint. Around the 1780s, an even larger temple, dedicated to the Annunciation and later become the Mother Church, was built about 300 m to the south. The new town would eventually grow around it.
Fortunately unharmed by the eruption of 1669 that entered Catania and flowed into the sea, Sant’Agata li Battiati was instead hit by the earthquake in 1693, suffering heavy damages. In 1645, like the other hamlets around Catania, it was bought by the Duke Giovanni Andrea Massa.