Catania is the main city of our province and is situated at approximately 15 km from Trecastagni.
The development of the town has continued into the territory of the neighbouring areas, therefore
forming an urban conglomeration with more than 350.000 inhabitants by the last census. Itís a
town that only in the last few decades has become a sea resort, thanks to the opening of new
modern large roads. The origin of Catania is very ancient and uncertain. The Chalcidian settlers
possibly founded it around 700 B.C., then inhabited by the Sicani, Siculi, and the Greeks, and
then it became a Roman colony an epoch in which it rose to considerable splendour. Testimony
is the RomanTheatre, the Odeon, and the Amphitheatre, the first two still used today for
summer shows. The town suffered destructive events, earthquakes and eruptions and very little
remains of the Byzantine, Arab and Norman dominations. A magnificent testimony is Ursino
Castle, built by Frederick II in 1200. Originallybuilt on the sea front, thenfollowinga succession
of Mt. Etnaís eruptions is now located in the hinterland
The cathedral and the elephant
The terrible earthquake of 1693 destroyed the town. It was then rebuilt immediately in baroque
style. Marvellous monuments, churches, and other buildings testify its splendour. To cite a few
of the most important: Piazza Duomo, The Town Hall, The Seminary dei Chierici, The
UzedaDoor, The Temple of SantíAgata, & The Fountain of the Elephant, symbol of the
town, Biscari Palace, that of the University and the grandiose monastery of the
Benedictines, a large complex, second in Europe in size, only to that of the one in Mafra,
Portugal. Today it is the University Faculty of Literature; it has two great internal cloisters.
Adjacent to the Monastery is the Church of S. Nicola, a large temple built at the end of
1600 but unfortunately uncompleted. The inside of the church has three naves and reaches
a length of 105 meters. The floors are covered in precious marble and the side chapels are
enriched with paintings of famous artists, everything transmits a feeling of magnificence due
to the height of the vault and the light that penetrates from the high windows.
Donato del Piano
The main altar is bordered with a richly sculptured wooden choir and above it overhangs
the organ of Donato del Piano that was almost totally destroyed by vandals, has now
been finally restored. The church faces a semicircular square that creates a natural frame
for its stateliness. Itís a centre for representations, summer concerts and is a constant
attraction for visitors and tourists. This space is too short to completely describe all the
treasures and the innumerable churches, buildings, monuments, and museums that make
Catania a city not to be missed.
In this summary we cannot fail to include via Crociferi with its majestic churches,
and it is quite rightly considered to be one of the most beautiful and charming roads
in Italy. In the evening until late at night itís animated with a constant flow of people
attracted by the atmosphere of the surroundings and the numerous characteristic clubs
and restaurants. Carlo Scala designed the pride of the city, The Bellini Theatre,
built in the 18th C., and entitled to its Swan. Four tiers of boxes and a gallery surround
the large hall. Highly appreciated lyrical and orchestral concerts are performed here.
The Bellini Gardens an important green lung situated in the centre of the city, and the
botanical gardens with their innumerable variety of exotic plants, also a glimpse at the
fascinating seafaring village of
S. Giovanni li Cuti with itís port, the suburb of Ognina with itís church close to the
shore, itís small port and the art nouveau villas facing the sea. The large busy port of
the city is one of the most important in the Mediterranean, on which the sun sets creating
evocative and magical sights. Furthermore a visit to the market held every Sunday in piazza
del Carmine with dozens of stalls that offer the weirdest objects, and the large markets like
the ďMonday marketĒ and that of the fish market in the historical eighteenth-century part
of the city, just a step from PiazzaDuomo that is reached passing by a splendid fountain
fed from the torrent Amenano that passes in the subsoil of the city, the market that receives
the freshly caught fish, the fresh fruit and vegetables that are authentic delights for oneís sight
and the palate. Itís impossible to continue, otherwise we risk writing a novel, and that is not
our intention at the moment.
Here we just wish to provide some brief notes on the city. For an in-depth study we
port at sunset
prefer to invite you to explore the official commune website.
Where you can also find recommended bilingual itineraries.