The church of Madonna della Rocca, named so because it was built on the rock, under the rock, in the rock. It was founded by Abbot Francesco Raineri with the help of the Archbishop of Messina Geronimo Venero, around 1640. The origin of the Sanctuary is linked to a legend.
As the legend tells, that a young boy shepherd from the nearby village called “Mola” was feeding the flock on the mountain, when suddenly a storm forced him to take cover with flock of sheeps in the nearby cave.
While he was hiding, the storm wasn’t going to end anytime soon, he was about to lose courage. He saw a beautiful lady dressed in blue who comforted him and reassured him that the sun would appeared soon. The storm ended soon indeed. The parents were worried about the fate of their son, so they went to look for him on the castle rocks, but they found him cheerfully next to the sheep, which had gathered around him. The boy told them what he went through, and what he had seen in the cave. The religious authorities of Taormina were notified, the bishop went there to see the occurrence and in that place a church was built.
A lot of people wanted to see the place and they noticed that on the rock, right where the shepherd boy saw the lady dressed in blue, was impressed the figure of the Madonna, which they called Madonna della Rocca. The architecture of the Shrine of “Madonna della Rocca” is very modest and rustic. It is a low building with a single compartment, in the facade there is the door that has threshold, jambs and lintel in stone of Taormina, and two symmetrical windows. On the edge of this cliff is a large concrete cross, which dominates the whole Taormina and it is visible from all sides.
Madonna della Rocca’s Day falls on the third Sunday of September, and it is celebrated with great solemnity.