The Church of San Michele Arcangelo in Savoca was built in the 9th century and then renovated in the 15th century in the Siculo-Gothic style.
The current structure dates back to the 15th century, but previously a church from the Norman era that belonged to the Pentefur Castle stood in its place.
In the 17th century, its interior was similarly redesigned, starting with an extension that designed its interior in the Baroque style, which was completed in 1701. Unfortunately, as the years passed, the church was abandoned until in 2015, a project called “Save the soul of Savoca”, started a crowfunding campaign to restore part of the paintings inside. The work was completed in 2020.
Architecture and works of art
As already mentioned, the church has Gothic-Sicilian details: we are talking about the two portals built using sandstone.
A single column-free nave is presented inside, while the ceiling is entirely made of wood.
The high altar houses the painting of St Michael the Archangel, while the side altar houses Saints Cosmas and Damian.
The legend of the theft of the statue of St Michael
Legend has it that the historical rivalry with the neighbouring village of Forza D’Agrò was the reason for the theft of the statue of the saint during the Feast of St Michael Archangel.
During the procession, it is said that some inhabitants of Savoca stole the statue, taking it to the church in their own village and that to restore peace, the Savocesi nobles invited those from Forza D’Agrò to a banquet. During the event, the inhabitants took turns and while the Savocesi were served beef, the others were given dog meat. For this reason, from that moment on, they were nicknamed ‘dog-eaters’, while the Savocesi took on the nickname of ‘seven-faced cunning’.