The Basilica Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina, better known as the Collegiata basilica, is a late Baroque church located along Via Etnea, a short distance from the University building, in Catania, in the Collegiate Basilica – San Giuliano district.
The church stands on an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Proserpina. In the early Christian centuries a small church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was built on the site, which in the Byzantine era was called the Madonna of the Almsina. In 1396 it was elevated to “Regia Cappella” as much frequented by the Aragonese, masters of Sicily of that time.
The church was rebuilt in the early eighteenth century, as a large part of the city of Catania, destroyed by the earthquake of 1963, before which the building’s entrance was in the current initial stretch of Via Alessandro Manzoni and after the catastrophe it was decided to reverse it, facing the church in via Etnea.
In February 1946, Pope Pius XII raised the church to the dignity of a minor basilica.