Duomo - Catania
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CATANIA

Catania is City and port of eastern Sicily, facing the Ionian Sea. It’s situated on the Meridianal stratum of Etna, at the mouth of the Catanian plains on the homonymous golf.

Native land of Vincenzo Bellini, Giovanni Pacini, Giovanni Verga, Mario Rapisardi and Angelo Musco.

A Greater Greece colony, founded in the 8th Century by the Calcidesi, it was then conquered by the Romans in 263BC. During the centuries that followed, it also saw numerous changes of domination: occupied by the Ostrogoth’s, the Byzantium’s, the Arabs, the Normans the Svevi, the Angioini, the Aragonesi, the Spanish and the Bourbons: mostly following throughout this the historical destiny of the entire region of Sicily. Hit more than once by the eruptions of Etna (254, 1669, 1819), the city was destroyed by earthquakes in 1169 and 1693; after this last one, it was completed rebuilt, mainly with blocks of lava which give it its monumental, architectural look and inimitable colour. The City was burnt and pillaged in April 1849 by the Bourbons, then annexed to the Italian reign after the Plebiscites in 1860.

Some architectural remains can still be seen from the scanty ruins of the Greek City already in existence at the end of the 8th century, instead, during the Roman era, there are some notable testimonies which remain, for example the Theatre, rebuilt on the Greek one, possibly dating back to the 5th Century BC; the remains of the Amphitheatre, probably dating back to the 2nd Century AD, the Thermal Baths of dell’Indirizzo and the Rotonda (modern day church of Santa Maria). The vast Roman and Byzantium necropolis in the Stesicoro square is also of great interest. An abundance of Greek money has been found, due to the great engravers, Eveneto and Eraclide who allowed them to be obtained. In the Communal Museum of Catania (hosted in the medieval Castle of Ursino) many very interesting works of sculpture and ceramics from the Greek and Roman eras, have been preserved.

Amongst the medieval buildings, we cannot forget the Basilichetts (5th-6th Centuries), San Salvatore (8th-9th Centuries), the Cathedral (11th-12th Centuries, rebuilt in the 18th Century), the Ursino Castle (today, seat of the Communal Museum) its erection was ordered by Federico II (1239-1250) but subsequently modified in the 16th Century.

The City, after the earthquake in 1693, was rebuilt during the course of the 18th Century, following the designs of Lanza, Camastra and mostly of Vaccarini, designer of the Town Hall (1741), the Sangiuliano Palace, the beautiful Elephant Fountain (1736, based on the one by Bernini in Rome) and the Churches of Saint Giuliano, Saint Chiara and Saint Agata.

Other notable monuments are the Church and the Convent of Saint Nicolò (dating back to the 16th Century, but rebuilt in the 18th Century) and the Biscari Palace.

Notwithstanding the terrible damage caused during the Second World War, the City has managed to preserve its late-Baroque look, both in the façades and the good urbanistic parts, together, therefore resulting as one of the main artistic magnets in the region.

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CATANIA
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