The Basilica

In South-eastern Sicily, the name NOBILE is commonly associated to a very important archeological context clearly referred to the family’s property: an early-Christian Basilica dating back to the IV-V centuries A.D., of great historical value.

Due to its huge size, it is the biggest monument of its kind existing in Sicily. This important hypogean monument has drawn the attention of archaeologists of great international fame such as P. Orsi, A. Messina and L. Agnello. In the very core of the ancient feudal village, visitors can entry the court of Palazzo Platamone through the seventeenth-century style portal, chosen as first company’s logo. Sided by the bell turret, the portal belonged to the summer residence owned by Moncada-Platamone feudal family who were allowed, in 1712, to build the whole town of Rosolini (Syracuse), with the approval of the city of Noto. Nothing remains of Palazzo Platamone, situated on the rocky coastline. The wonderful and prestigious rupestrian church stands in the wide court, just in front of the oil mill where the excellent oil is produced and below the rocky spur. Entirely dug out in the rock, the Byzantine Basilica still shows up in its original structure, even though no more intact. A pre-existent funeral hypogeum carved into limestone gave rise to the three-naves structure of the Basilica. Some imprecision and uncertainty in the architecture witness the necessity to build the church on the pre-existent rests; in the right nave, we can still find some Byzantine Arcosoli. The tree naves of the Basilica are delimited by a system of full scale eight-span arches supported by solid square pillars which convey a certain majesty to the monument. The central nave ends by a wide apse and is separated from the left nave by a blind arcade, which forms an irregular compartment. Here, in the middle of the ceiling, a ciborium originally towered above a likewise square burial monument. What still remains is only the superior parts of the slabs joined together by small arches and delimiting a little hemispherical chapel decorated in the middle by a ring dug out of the stone. On the left side, at the same height as the presumed sarcophagus, probably erected in memory of a venerable figure of the local Church, we find a tabernacle certainly used to lay all what was needed for religious rites. Small tabernacles regularly appearing here and there in the Basilica suggest that they were used to support oil lamps. A mystery has yet to be solved: who conceived and built this monument? We believe that the architectural and religious influence were inspired by the oriental style, in particular the Syro-Palestinian, brought by one of the several monastic communities, got in Eastern Italy from the Near East and living in the territory of Rosolini. With the arrival of the Arabs, such an enchantiing place was called, being a church, "GARU AS-SALIBIN" (pronunciation Rusalibin) that is "THE CAVE OF THE CROSS". Over time, the pronunciation became "RUSALINI", that is the dialect expression for the present ROSOLINI: that was the definitive name of the village which was rapidly developing. Today, from Rosolini and from this court steeped in history, the Olive OIL produced by the Nobile family reaches the farthest destinations. The Basilica, prestigious cultural heritage, does not belong exclusively to the Nobile family, however charged of its supervision; similarly, IN Olive Oil, precious healthy nutrient, is not exclusive property of its producer but a World Heritage.