7 attractions in Catania (Sicily)

 

 Visit the city of Catania

Sicily’s second largest city after Palermo, Catania is known for its Baroque buildings. Founded by Ionian Greeks in 729 BC, Catania prospered as an agricultural center and remained so after it became a Roman colony. Eclipsed by Syracuse and Palermo in the Byzantine and Arab periods, it regained its importance as a trading and seafaring power under Norman rule. Spanish rulers fostered the town’s prosperity, founding a university there in 1434, but natural catastrophes befell the town: the plague in 1576, lava flows in 1669 that destroyed the western part of the town, and the great earthquake of 1693, which left the rest in ruin. The 18th-century reconstruction, much of it designed by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, left Catania its rich legacy of Baroque buildings, which are its major attractions for tourists.

1.Piazza Duomo

Piazza Duomo

2.Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata

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3.Fontana dell Elephante

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4.Fontana dell Amenano

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5.Giardini Bellini (Villa Bellini)

6.Monastero dei Benedictini

10 minutes walk from the Cathedral square you find the Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena, a late baroque monument and one of the biggest Benedictine monastery in Europe. The construction of the building started in 1500 and has continued until today. It is an example of architectonical integration of different styles through different epochs:  you can find a roman house, the cloisters and a roof garden. The monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It hosts the Department of Humanities of the University of Catania.

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7.Museo Storico dello Sbarco in Sicilia 1943.

The “Allied Landings in Sicily Museum” (Museo Storico dello Sbarco in Sicilia 1943) is housed in one of the buildings forming the “Ciminiere” cultural centre. The museum narrates the events that took place in Sicily from 10 July to 8 September 1943. This period is still recent history, only seventy years have passed and many senior citizens can still recount the experience. Everything that we have forgotten is now conserved in this museum which aims to protect our most precious asset: peace.

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