St. Dominic's Convent
The St. Dominic's Convent, today St. Domenico Palace Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Italy, was the first palace-castle (its construction started in 1374, and was completed in 1383) and the third monastery risen in Taormina.
Its origin and history are tied up to the Dominican monk Damiano Rosso, descendant from the Altavillas and Prince of Cerami.
He gave, become monk, all his property, inclusive the palace then transformed in convent, to the religious order of Dominicans. The monk's marble bust and the wood statue are inside the building.
Many centuries after the Palace passed to the municipality of Taormina, that reselled it to the princes of Cerami, Damiano Rosso's heirs.
The princes, in the beginning of this century, transformed it in hotel (the second hotel built in Taormina after the Timeo's one). The convent's church only (dedicated to St. Agata) persisted open to the cult, but it was destroyed by the bombardments in July 1943. Upon its ruins today rises the congresses' hall of the hotel, which still preserves the small altars.
We reach the ex convent through a seventeenth century portal, upon which we can observe the monastic Dominicanis order's coat of arms, graven in marble: a dog with the torch lit in mouth. Two sculptures of saints are walled in the sides of the portal.
Entering in the hotel's hall, and passed it, we come up against the cloister, in square plan with seven arcs, for each side, supported by 29 columns. There is also another smaller cloister, consituted by six arcades for each side, with arcs supported by 25 mullions. The 40 cells were the monks lived have been transformed in elegant hotel rooms. We can still look at the closet graven in 1500, the wood pulpit, ancient chests, Greek-Romans amphoras, the bell of the church, the fireplace of the monks and the monument to Giovanni Corvaja. The bell tower, in square base, was built in three levels.
Particularly interesting are at last: the statue of St. Francis, represented while he holds a stone (symbol of the moral and religious reconstruction), the statue of St. Dominic, who holds a book (symbol of the doctrine), and many pictures. The picture which is mostly interesting represents a puerpera who, trying to save him, nurses her father, an old man condemned to die in prison, feeding him with her milk.