What to see in Catania

What to see in Catania

What to see in Catania?
Home of the Sicilian Baroque, Catania is a city that was born between the Ionian Sea and the Etna volcano and with its wonderful architectural heritage.

Via Etnea

The Via Etnea is the most important and spectacular road in the historic center of Catania and is about 2.8 km long in a straight line.
It was built in the late seventeenth century after the disastrous earthquake of 11 January 1693 and the buildings built along the street were built in the Sicilian Baroque style of the time by the architects Giovan Battista Vaccarini and Francesco Battaglia .
Via Etnea leads from Piazza del Duomo to Tondo Gioeni , crossing Piazza Università with the Rectorate and San Giuliano and the 7 Baroque churches, including the beautiful Basilica della Collegiata.
Today it is the pedestrian shopping street and always full of people, it is one of the most loved by Catania residents and tourists.
What to see in Catania? This is one of the things to see.

Cathedral of Sant’Agata

Built in the Norman period, the cathedral of Catania keeps the apse and the transept from this period of construction with a severe and powerful aspect.
The current conformation of the church dates back to the eighteenth-century reconstruction carried out with the reuse of existing elements such as the sixteenth-century portal placed on the left side.
It was originally built over ancient Roman baths and its numerous reconstructions in the following centuries are due to the consequences of the earthquakes that hit the city.
The imposing Latin cross interior, divided into three naves, preserves remarkable works of art and houses famous burials.
Worth noting is the tomb of Vincenzo Bellini, a famous composer from Catania.
There are also two sarcophagi, one from the Roman age with the bodies of some members of the Aragonese royal family and the other Gothic, belonging to Costanza d’Aragona, located inside the Norman chapel of Our Lady the Madonna, one of the most valuable works of the cathedral.

Elephant Fountain

Located in Piazza Duomo , the Elephant Fountain is characterized by the lava stone statue of an elephant, called “Liotru” and symbol of Catania.
Designed by the arch. Giovan Battista Vaccarini between 1735 and 1737, as part of the restoration of Catania following the terrifying earthquake of 1693, the fountain combines several elements.
The base consists of a white marble pedestal located in the middle of a tub.
At the base two sculptures represent the two waterways of Catania, the Simeto and the Amenano.
Above them there is the statue of the elephant, facing the trunk towards the Cathedral of Sant’Agata.
On the elephant’s back stands a three and a half meter high granite obelisk decorated with Egyptian-style figures.
The date of construction of the obelisk is not certain, theoretically attributed to the Roman period, perhaps coming from Egypt, brought to Catania during the Crusades. At the top of the obelisk is a globe, surrounded by a crown of a palm leaf (representing martyrdom) and a branch of lilies (representing purity).
Above a metal tablet with an inscription dedicated to Sant’Agata, patron saint of the city and also a cross.

Via Crociferi

Due to the quality and beauty of the buildings, above all religious, that face it, Via dei Crociferi is considered the most representative street of Baroque Catania.
Among the most important buildings to visit are:
The Church of San Giuliano with its beautiful convex façade.
The Jesuit College with four splendid courtyards.
The Church of San Francesco Borgia with a double flight of stairs and the Church of San Benedetto with a lavishly decorated facade.
The path ends with Villa Cerami, a green oasis that welcomes the Faculty of Law. Via dei Crociferi is the second parallel to via Etnea and is accessible from via Vittorio Emanuele or via Di Sanguliano.

Ursino Castle

Built at the behest of Frederick II in the first half of the thirteenth century, originally on a promontory surrounded by the sea, with sixteenth-century walls and later damaged and renovated several times, the Ursino Castle is a square building, surrounded by a moat , with four cylindrical towers at the corners.
During the Sicilian Vespers it was the seat of Parliament and then in 1400 it became the residence of the Aragonese rulers.
The 1600 lava flow reached and buried a part of it, creating a new esplanade away from the sea.

Today it is the seat of the Civic Museum.

Palazzo Biscari

This building is known above all for the unmissable facade on via Dusmet: decorated with caryatids and lavishly framed balconies with reliefs that give particular emphasis to the play of chrome used, which shows the opulence of Catania in past centuries.
The back of the immense building faces Via Biscari.

Inside stands out the sumptuous party hall with a domed vault, Rococo decorations, mirrors, frescoes and the gallery with an exceptional spiral staircase ingeniously designed to give a feeling of lightness.
The palace hosted important personalities in its rooms, including Goethe.

Museo Civico Belliniano

Today’s Museo Civico Belliniano occupies the house where the composer Vincenzo Bellini was born on November 3, 1801 and lived the first sixteen years of his life. Opened on May 5, 1930 in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III, the museum is organized in chronological order. The apartment consists of only five rooms, is entirely occupied by relics that trace the life of Bellini and his family; paintings, books, original scores, musical instruments and his death mask.

Piazza del Duomo

Center of Catania, Piazza del Duomo is a condensation of masterpieces from the Baroque period.
Point of convergence of the main streets of the city, the square is home to the palaces of municipal and ecclesiastical power: the Town Hall, the Cathedral and the Seminary.
The inclination of the streets guarantees panoramic and architectural views of great beauty from the square.
The centerpiece of the square is the Elephant Fountain, obtained by reusing ancient decorative elements such as the Roman era lava elephant and the Egyptian obelisk.
Around the fountain are the Palazzo Comunale, housed in the Palazzo degli Elefanti and the Palazzo dei Clierici which through a passage above Porta Uzeda enters the Cathedral.
In front of the Town Hall is the Amenano fountain, the river that flows under Catania.


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Catania. Una guida

Italian Version
Updated on: 16/08/2022 09:08:23
translated with machine translation