Santuario Della Madonna Delle Lacrime, Syracusa, Sicilia.

Syracuse’s most recent architectural landmark, Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Tears was designed based on the shape of a tear. Officially opened in 1994 it reaches the grand height of 102m. I can’t say I was enamoured with the external structure but the internal experience is extremely profound.

On 29 August 1953, a small plaster image of the Virgin Mary in the house of Angelo Iannuso and Antonina Giusto suddenly began to shed tears. The following days, on 30 and 31 August and on 1 September, tears were seen again on the Virgin’s face. The cavernous space was designed to house the image which reportedly bestowed 300+ miraculous cures over a few months after the tears. Sitting in the space listening to the nuns pray in harmony as the sounds echo up in to the heavens you can forgive the architects Michel Andrault and Pierre Parat for it’s external facade.

As construction begun on the church, an extensive network of houses and streets from the Roman and Greek periods were discovered. Elements of these and another sanctuary to the goddess Demeter and Kore (5th-4th century BC) remain in the crypt.

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