Si Trova: a Taormina
Lat: 37° 51' 0.628685" N - Long: 15° 17' 0.529568" E
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The Convent of the Dominicans of Taormina today is home to the San Domenico Palace Hotel, one of the most famous and luxurious hotels in Italy.
Its construction, begun in 1374 and completed in 1383, was the work of the Dominican frade Damiano Rosso, descendant of the Altavilla and prince of Cerami.
He gave all his possessions to the Dominican friars, and made a clause according to which, in the event that the Dominicans would have abandone the convent, the possession of this should have passed to the heirs of his family.
The clause was used several centuries later, in 1886, whereby the ecclesiastical property did not pass to the state like all the others, but the Princes of Cerami was returned to the legitimate heirs, who subsequently sold it to a company that transformed the monastery into an hotel.
The church annexed to the convent, dedicated to St Agata, remained open for worship, but was destroyed by the Anglo-American bombings of 9 July 1943; today it is used as a congress hall and preserves the remains of the minor altars.
The bell tower, on three floors, and the entrance portal have also been preserved.
Access to the hotel is via a magnificent seventeenth-century portal, with the crest of the Dominican monastic order.
Inside, still decorated with paintings, statues and prestigious remains of the ancient monastery, there are two cloisters: the largest has seven arches on each side, resting on 29 columns, the smaller one has six arches on each side, which rest on 25 columns.
The 40 cells of the friars have been transformed into the luxurious rooms of the hotel which counts among the most prestigious guests King Edward of England, Luigi Pirandello, Thomas Mann, Michelangelo Antonioni, Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn and many other celebrities.
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