San VitoThe origin of the Church of Saint Vito are discussed, and till now none of those who have studied the history of Carini exactly know when the church was founded.The oldest news can be found in the “Sacred Sicily” written by the Abbot Rocco Pirro (1633) that says the church was built around 1450 as the second Mother Church in Carini after the one of Saint Giuliano, built when the Baron was Gilberto La Grua, and consecrated after that a famous painting made in 1300 with miraculous effects had been brought there. On the foundation date further information are given by Filingeri (Carini nel cinquecento – 2007) that refers of the possible construction of the church under the barony of the Abbate, from Trapani (Saint Vito is the Mazara patron saint) closer to the cult of Saint Vito rather than the La Grua from Pisa might have been. In actual fact, at the beginning the bell tower was independent from the church, fact which is typical of the period going in between 1200-1300, and just later annexed; besides was present a portico on the north side, formed by an arch on the side close to the façade and four that face the area of San Domenico. This part has been brought back to light in the last few years after having been hidden for decades behind other structures. The style of the arches and that of the survived capitals date to the second part of 1400, when Matteo Carnalivari was working in Carini and some parts of the structure seem to put it in evidence ( the portico itself and part of the portal). In 1532 we had some enlargement works in the church and that is also when Saint Vito became the Carini’s patron saint, which is when the baroness Eleonora Tocco Manriquez , wife to Pietro II La Grua Talamanca ,gave to the town the relics of the Saint and Jesus’s Cross. The inscription above the portal reminds us about this. (M5 32 ind V). The church was the seat of the homonymous brotherhood whose members during the important official cerimonies used “lo sacco de tela cruda , saccis albi set cappis rubeis (a cloth sack and red robe)” , and during the ordinary processions taking place in Carini the Company was the first to go out. On Saint Vito day (June 15th ) to celebrate the Saint they used to make a race “Il palio delli giannetti” in the road “Via della cursa vecchia” , nowadays Via Roma , known as la “Cursa Vecchia” just because there, they used to make this race already in the middle 1500.Portale scrittaThe statue of Saint Vito was ordered , by the Saint Vito’s brotherhood rectors by a deed executed before a notary called D’Urso on September 5th 1529 , to the sculptors from Palermo Paolo Gili and Antonio Barbato and costed 20 uncias. Ten years later were made the statues of Saint Lucy and Saint Leonard , while in 1601 we already have present the statue of Saint Paolino ( in reality it is Saint Biagio).Around 1630 new works were made in the structure involving the Chapels facing Piazza Duomo. From another pastoral visit , the one made by Monsignor Spinola in 1639 we have a new description of the church when the restoration works had been completed : we have the altars of Saint Vito , Saint Lucy , Our Lady of Mercy , Saint Biagio , the Saints Crispino and Crispiano , Saint Andrew (?) , Saint Leonard and Santa Maria della Neve. A very detailed description of the church is the one made by Monsignor Bartolomeo Castelli during in a pastoral visit : “la chiesa have al sua entrata cola porta nella piazza affaccio l’oriente et altre due porte, una nello tocco di detta chiesa et l’altra affaccio la matrice chiesa. Tiene un campanile congiunto cum d. chiesa quatriato cum dui campani, una grande et l’altra mezzana. Tiene otto cappelli, cinque sfundati di larghezza palmi 12 e di lunghezza palmi 18, e tre ad arco; un cappelloni, la longhizza di d. chiesa cum d. cappillone canni 12, di larghizza canni 4 circa, di altizza canni 6. Nell’altare Campanile San Vitomaggiore vi è uno quatro dove vi è l’immagine della Beata Vergine, S. Vito et S. Giuseppe et supra il corniciuni vi è un quatro di S. Vito, nella prima cappella vi è la statua del glorioso S.to Vito di legno adorata a man destra. Nella seconda, una statua addorata di S. Lucia, nella terza l’immagine della beata vergine della Pietà, nella quarta una statua di legno del glorioso S. Blase. Man sinistra la cappella della beata vergine ad nives in un quatro, 2 una cappella con la statua di S. Leonardo di legno adorata; 3 una cappella di S. Silvestro cum suo quatro col imagine di S. Pietro e Paulo; 4 ed ultimo cappella un quatro di S. Crispino e Crispiniano dove ci è il consolato di d. santo fundato in d. chiesa. Una sacrestia con la porta nel cappellone, et un’altra che si anda al campanaro de la porta nella cappella della beata vergine della Pietà.”In the church are the “carnals” or “ Holes” where dead people were buried . For the brothers of Saint Vito brotherhood are kept “five holes” close to the main altar ; a hole is inside the tocco and is kept for the hospital ( that was once located in front of the portico on the opposite side of Saint Domenico); a hole is in the Chapel of Saint Lucy (notary Ranisio 1562).