Catania is located at the foot of the suggestive Mount Etna which with its eruptions often gives it a particular charm. Catania is a splendid city of art, an example of the Sicilian Baroque and for this Unesco heritage together with the other cities of the Val of Noto.
Catania originated as a Sicilian settlement, refounded with the name of Kατάvη in 729 BC. by Greek Chalcidian colonists. In the fifth century BC it was occupied by the Syracusans, who named it Etna, was then conquered by the Romans in 263 BC. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the city followed the fate of Sicily, being conquered first by the Ostrogoths, then by Arabs, Normans, Swabians and Angevins. Shocked by the terrible eruption of Etna in 1669 and by the disastrous earthquake of 1693, the city was almost entirely rebuilt at the beginning of the eighteenth century, according to the baroque taste of the time that characterizes all south-eastern Sicily.
Catania is a city that leaves you fascinated. Starting with the remarkable evidence dating back to the Roman period, among which the Odeon stands out, which stands in the historic center, next to the Roman theater. The latter building was built in Greek times, but restored between the 1st and 2nd centuries, and other monumental structures also belong to this period, including the amphitheater and some thermal buildings made with lava stones.
Do not miss a visit to the Ursino castle, founded by Frederick II of Swabia in the thirteenth century and now a civic museum. Catania, an illustrious example of the Sicilian Baroque and post-earthquake reconstruction, preserves the urban layout designed by the architect Vaccarini, with wide straight streets that connect around the main Via Etnea, open on squares and gardens. Piazza del Duomo overlooks these scenic streets, which presents itself with the characteristic Elephant Fountain, the true center of the historic city.