The construction of the cemetery of Mistretta is among the longest and most troubled events affecting the town’s monuments. The first decision to build it in an out-of-town area dates back to the summer of 1830, when the town administration, urged by the Bourbon government, decided to erect the cemetery in the Cicè-Treppiedi locality, but other ten years passed before friar Vincenzo Bruno was charged to design it. It is assumed that the identification of the site had been influenced by the memory of the mass graves realized during the plague of 1624. The first cemetery turned out to be providential during the cholera epidemic of 1867. However, in 1870 it was already full and, when it was decided to enlarge it, some ground instability ended up causing its abandonment (today we can see the crumbling walls that surrounded it). Meanwhile it was provided to arrange an area nearby the Casina Allegra and the burials were effected in country churches, preferably in the church of the Madonna della Luce.
In 1874, since cemeteries represented one of the most important art expressions at that time, the architect Giovan Battista Filippo Basile was contacted to design the new cemetery just at the Madonna della Luce. Basile drew up a project envisaging the arrangement of terraces with steps and, above all, elaborated stone ornaments in the church, the surrounding wall, the service premises, and the charnel house, adopting, as he pointed out, “the style of Christian religious architecture of the XII century”. At the beginning of 1876, Basile was compelled to revise drastically the original project and after a year of lively debate on the proposal of the famous architect, it was issued a call for tender awarded to local workers (Catania, Smeriglio, Lo Prinzi). The works actually started in 1878 when, since Basile was not available on site, the engineer G. Priolo and architect F. Liuzzo were appointed planning supervisors and were urged to conform meticulously to the project. Nevertheless, in the arrangement of the surrounding wall, inconsistencies emerged between the sites and the drawings, so that engineer Priolo decided some changes that later would cause him the removal from his position. The work proceeded with difficulty until the middle of 1879, when Basile was staying for the last time in Mistretta with some students from his school and was giving his guidelines to carry on the works. However, the building site was halted and only in 1884 the municipal engineer Antonio Giacometti drew up a variation to Basile’s project, defining what had been done so far as “leprous Job who, wherever you look at, shows a large and deep sore”. Therefore, it was given up great part of the decoration works and only the areas of the cemetery started and never finished were completed. The last stretches of masonry for terracing were made in 1889 and meanwhile the first concessions were given for the chapels of the religious companies, followed by those for the chapels of the nobles (Salamone, Tita, Baiardi, Mastrogiovanni Tasca, etc.) and the monumental graves (Di Salvo, Giaconia, etc.), with the intervention of important sculptors (A. Ugo, G. Scarfì) and architects. The construction of the road, become necessary to accompany the coffins, dates to 1903.