A devastating and tragic event can give life to the rebirth of a city by creating an urban-topographical model of undisputed value, for Sicily and more ... It is the case of Avola that, destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1693, was rebuilt with the characteristic plant hexagonal that, with a brilliant intuition for those times, conjugated a more valid defense of the city and a better use of the same as a whole, with the correspondence to a clear anti-seismic structure, thanks to its wide streets and low buildings ».
[G. Catanzaro e Z. Navarra]
The earthquake of 9 and 11 January 1693 hit the Val di Noto area, which is the south-eastern territory of Sicily.
In the official report, sent to the King of Spain on May 14, 1693, Avola was mentioned as "quedo toda destruida y arruinada" whose number of victims would have been around 800 inhabitants (many more according to other testimonies).
It would have been the arrangement of the houses, leaning against each other, to provoke the total destruction of the city and to force the survivors to move towards the coast, in particular in the plane of the Trappeto. It was here that the inhabitants of Avola managed to find the necessary resources to go on but above all to rebuild the city.
Soon (on 6th of April) the first stone of the new Mother Church was laid.
The city was redesigned with a hexagonal plan with a double advantage: the walls guaranteed the possibility of an effective defense and the squares (one central and four minors) provided an easily accessible shelter in case of an earthquake.
The design of the new city reached its final completion with the choice of the use of stone: white limestone blocks made amber to the light that constitute a characterizing element of the identity of the city of Avola.