Saint Agatha's plague column

In 1744 the statue of Saint Agatha , patron saint of the city, was placed in the current Piazza Dei Martiri in Catania. The work was carried out by the Palermo sculptor Michele Orlando. The citizens of Etna decided to erect a monument in recognition of their Patroness for RUSHING to help hER fellow citizens through prodigious actions, after the terrible plague epidemic of 1743 devastated the city of Messina.


The statue was erected on top of a column OF UNCERTAIN ORIGIN; some believe that it was recovered from the ancient Amphitheater, others that IT is one of the eight Roman columns inside the Norman Cathedral. The Saint is depicted in the act of crushing a poisonous hydra, symbol of the plague.


An inscription engraved on the marble placed at the base of the column recalls the miraculous event with these words: DOM DIVAE AGATHAE CIVI A PESTE SERVATRICI MDCCXLIII ("TO GOD THE GREAT MAGNUM, SAN'AGATA PRESERVATRICE OF THE CITY FROM THE PEST, 1743").

* Salvatore Rocca, Sicilia In Arte – Il monumento a Sant’Agata in Piazza dei Martiri, ViviCatania, 14 Settembre 2016;

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