Destroyed time and time again by volcanic eruptions, war, earthquakes and other disasters, Catania always managed to get back on its feet! The city rose from the rubble, complete with wide streets, piazzas and monuments.
The town is centred around Piazza Duomo, which is lined with an elegant baroque ensemble. In the middle of the square stands the “Fontana dell’Elefante”, in dialect called “u Liutru” and it is the symbol of Catania.
On the south side of the square sites delicate “Fontana dell’Amenano”, named after the underground river that supplies it on its way to the sea before disappearing again. Behind it there is the Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto, where a picturesque and bustling fish market takes place daily.
The star of the square is the Cathedral dedicated to St Agatha, the saint patron of the city; it was erected in the late 11C by the Norman king Roger I and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1963.
Via Etnea is lined with elegant palaces smart shops and boutiques. It runs for two kilometers from Piazza del Duomo through Piazza dell’Università and Piazza Stesicoro where you can still see the ruins of an enormous Roman amphitheatre; halfway up there is Villa Bellini, Catania’s flowers-filled public gardens and the botanical garden. The Museo Belliniano is dedicated to Catania’s most famous son: the composer Vincenzo Bellini. A short walk will take you to another building dedicated to his memory, the opera house Teatro Massimo Bellini.
"SunTripSicily" tips: reach Catania by train and catch the metro, just in front of the station, to arrive in the city centre.
Don’t miss the Benedectine Monastery, with its opulent decorations, and Via Crociferi, Catania’s baroque street par excellence.