Chiesa Madre San Guglielmo

Southeastern Sicily

It's in this church that a warrior-like Madonna delle Milizie (Madonna of the Militias) crushes two hapless Saracens on her white horse. Made of wood and papier-mâché, the 18th-century simulacrum is paraded around Scicli on the patron saint's feast day in late May. According to legend, it was an apparition of the sworded heroine that led the Normans to defeat the invading Saracens in 1091.

To the right of the simulacrum is a painting of the local battle, executed by Francesco Pascucci in 1780. In the chapel to the right of it, a silver urn holds the relics of San Guglielmo, Scicli's other patron saint. The 14th-century hermit is portrayed in an 18th-century painting by Antonino Manoli, located on the right side of the nave. What makes the work truly remarkable is its accurate depiction of Scicli before the earthquake of 1693.

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