Sicilian Baroque: Revival of the Island after a Devastating Earthquake

vintage map poster of sicily

Map of the Island of Sicily, 1701.

In 1693, Sicily and neighbouring Calabria and Malta experienced one of the most destructive earthquakes ever recorded in the history of Italy. The estimated magnitude was 7.6 degrees. Approximately 60,000 people died and 70 towns were destroyed. The eastern coast of the island was the most severely affected where the aftermath was catastrophic. At that time, Sicily was under the rule of the Spanish Crown; therefore, the Spanish administration initiated a major recovery and rebuilding programme after the quake. The extent of the construction boom in the years that followed was enormous. The latest European trends in urban planning and architecture were brought to the island. New cities were founded as in many cases it was preferred to start from scratch rather than repair the original ruins. A specific “Sicilian Baroque” style was developed, which represented the best practices achieved in baroque style across Europe at that time. Sicilian Baroque was used until the 1730s, by which time most of the destroyed infrastructure was rebuild.

John Julius Norwich’s “Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History” also focuses on this crucial times in the island’s history.

Buy restored reproduction of this map printed on a high quality handmade paper here.

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