Catania, besides being one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Italy, boasts an excellent historic center. Made in Baroque style and rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake, the site is now a full part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site . The variety that characterizes its architecture, also enriched by the use of lava stone, has always attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world. The historic center of Catania agglomerates tradition and everyday life in equal measure.
Churches and monuments blend perfectly with modern buildings and markets where traders carry out their activities. Among the major points of interest for tourists certainly stands Piazza Duomo , home of the famous Palazzo degli Elefanti which contains Cathedral, Town Hall and Palazzo dei Chierici. At the center of the square stands the iconic statue of the elephant, "U Liotru", symbol of the city. The legend says that it was the steed of Heliodorus, a mythological figure who is attributed magical powers used to make fun of ecclesiastical offices and the inhabitants of Catania.
the church of Sant’Agata , a wonderful cathedral dating back to the year one thousand. Destroyed by the 1693 earthquake, it was built by the architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini in Carrara marble and lava stone in full Sicilian Baroque style. The cathedral houses the chapel with the relics of the patron saint Sant'Agata and the tomb of Vincenzo Bellini, who is also dedicated a beautiful theater , located in Via Perrotta, which we recommend to visit.
At 700 meters from the Duomo, however, there is via Etnea , a long and fascinating wide street dotted with shops and all kinds of shops. It is somewhat the equivalent of Via del Corso in Rome, with the difference that there are many Baroque palaces here and you can enjoy a clear view of Mount Etna. Certainly the ideal place to go shopping or simply enjoy the Catania nightlife. Also on site, from 8 am to 2 pm, there is the possibility to go to Pescheria . This characteristic fish market is a perfect summary of the Sicilian craft trade, rich in colors, smells and passion. The fish sold is very fresh and the prices, especially if you can bargain, are more than affordable.
A stone's throw from the cathedral is the very elegant Palazzo Biscari . Decorated in rococo style, it is the symbol of the ancient wealth of Catania. The building, also visited and appreciated by Goethe, contains a magnificent ballroom, princely rooms, a gallery and a frescoed dome. Nearby, towards Piazza Dante, you'll come across Via dei Crociferi . It is a street where 4 churches are concentrated. San Giuliano, San Francesco Borgia, the Jesuit college and above all San Benedetto, with its characteristic stairway and a church-monastery combination to leave you speechless.
Speaking of the monastery, in Piazza Dante we point out the famous Benedictine monastery , home to the Department of Humanities of the University of Catania. The rooms steeped in history, the Roman domus, the hanging garden and the fantastic cloister are absolutely worth visiting. At about 800 meters, finally, it runs Ursino Castle , which in addition to hosting the headquarters of the Civic Museum of Catania, becomes a concert theater and arena. The umpteenth demonstration of how in Catania tradition and modernity live in perfect symbiosis.