Catania (Sicily - Italy)
Tourist area Baroque cities of the Val di Noto
Catania 313.396 is a common coastal inhabitants, located 7 meters above sea level in the homonymous province, its territory covers an area of 180,90 sq km.
Catania it can be considered a symbol of rebirth.
It has always been a meeting place for peoples and cultures, offering 2700 years of history in the heart of the Mediterranean.
Thanks to the beautiful baroque architecture, has been elected by UNESCO World Heritage Site and its historical center is faithfully reproduced in the historical center of the city of Adelaide (Australia) by the urbanist William Light who visited Catania in the 1821.
The city stretches on the homonymous plain, between the Ionian Sea and the slopes of the majestic Etna volcano.
A fertile and perfumed surrounding land from citrus gardens frames a city rich in traditions.
Getting abducted from the sea and from places means abandoning oneself to history, culture, nature, art, folklore and relaxation.
Catania offers one of the most evocative and fascinating views of the world with the imposing volcano Etna facing the Ionian sea that breaks in the typical lava cliff.
Magical and irresistible lies the Playa, on the opposite coast.
Nothing could be easier than to plunge and let yourself be kidnapped by this city of a thousand proposals in which nature mixes colors and perfumes.
From the Bed & Breakfast to the best-known chains, from the three-star hotel to the grand hotel, from the tourist-hotel residence to the youth hostel.
In recent years, the quality and variety of the hotel and extra-hotel offer in the city of Catania has expanded, to meet a diversified demand of increasingly demanding users.
Those who choose Catania, as a destination for their holiday, will find a wide choice of possibilities for their stay.
Here you can find shops that can satisfy all tastes and needs, from elegant fashion boutiques to sporting goods stores, from precious jewelers to the stores of household and leisure items.
Lovers of pottery, souvenirs and local crafts will be spoiled for choice among the shops of Piazza Duomo e Porta Uzeda, where you can find the famous "Pupi", But also lava stone handicrafts.
The city never ceases to intrigue and amaze even with the rich, tasty and tasty local cuisine rich in dishes with colors and flavors famous in the world. The desserts, the wines, the skilled hands of the artisans, the traditions combined with the human warmth and the innate culture of catanese hospitality are the ingredients that, at any time of the year, offer visitors religious, enogastronomic, folkloristic and congress events. of global importance.
Catania e Sant'Agata an indissoluble, strong, deep and sincere bond that envelops the city and a million visitors and citizens present every year.
To really get to know Catania you should participate at least once feast of Sant'Agata: a special occasion to see the city dressed up to revive a centuries-old tradition.
Visiting Catania you will discover a modern and lively city that preserves a vast cultural heritage by offering a backward route that passes from the Greek to the Roman ruins, to the Sicilian baroque.
The prestigious historical center is surrounded by a maze of offers for visitors made up of the rest of the city that develops with the Catania nineteenth century and Liberty: avenues, spacious squares, parks spontaneously propose themselves to the wonder of tourists efficiently served by public transport and the subway.
The beautiful Epoque magically invades the plots of the Course Italy, the gardens of the Viale Regina Margherita, The Villa Manganelli.
Catania is also cultural and exhibition centers such as "the Chimneys"Which have contributed to making it an urban agglomeration among the very first in Italy.
The civic symbol of the city is the Elephant (U 'Liotru) which occupies the center of the city majestically Piazza del Duomo.
Under the eighteenth century arch of Porta Garibaldi a phoenix is carved, the mythical bird that was reborn from its ashes.
Under that phoenix reads carved under "Melior de cinere surgo", "Risorgo always more beautiful from my ashes".
This is the emblem of the strength of Catania, a favorite destination for travelers in search of strong emotions, which has given prestige to men and saints who have celebrated it and made it famous in the world.
Catania is a city to discover, savor, breathe, live in every street, square, alley, museum, garden.
Catania is the one that never ceases to amaze: to those who visit it for the first time marks a deep emotion in the hearts and to those who return it increases the emotion of captivating novelties that transform emotions into feelings in the heart.
This is why Catania is "a city of love".
Catania has a history of twenty-eight centuries through which it lived under the Greek, Roman, Ostrogothic, Byzantine, Muslim, French and Spanish dominations until its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in the 1860.
La history of Catania it is told in a continuous overlap of dominations, earthquakes and lava flows.
The advent of the Roman and Byzantine era, has erased all traces of the first calcidesi settlers.
It was the Normans who delineated the urban features, making the Duomo the nerve center of the city thanks to its strategic proximity to the port that also militarily motivated the construction of the Castello Ursino.
The Middle Ages, despite the city being prostrated by the seismic events of the time, led to the establishment of the first Sicilian university of the "Siculorum Gymnasium" (1434).
It was just after the terrible earthquake of the 1963 that the city and the historic center, freed of the medieval walls, were completely redesigned and took on the appearance that we can currently admire.
The ancient city
According to Tuclide, in the 729 BC some Calcidean settlers moved from Greece to found a new colony: Katane was born.
The ancient Greek colony was concentrated in the area now occupied by the Benedictine monastery and, in the first phase of its history, it did not have a notable territorial and economic expansion since Syracuse, Naxos and Lentini were already present, who mastered the coasts of eastern Sicily.
Many men of culture stayed there, like the philosopher Senofane da Colofone and the poets Ibico and Stesicoro who died there.
In the fifth century BC Catania was conquered and destroyed by the tyrant of Syracuse Ierone who deported the inhabitants to Lentini.
During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) Catania settled in favor of Athens and hosted its fleet.
Katane was again occupied by the tyrant of Syracuse Dionysius (403 BC) and the city suffered yet another destruction and deportation.
For many years the city remained under the "protectorate" of Syracuse and its tyrants (end of the 4th century BC).
When King Pyrrhus (III century BC) with his Carthaginian army failed in his attempt to raise the Mediterranean from the Greek fortunes, Katane chose to line up with Rome and surrendered to it (263 BC).
Under the dominion of Rome, the city experienced almost two centuries of decline dotted with numerous lava flows that destroyed much of the territory.
Despite these continuous disasters Catania retained considerable importance.
Like the large coastal cities, also Catania, extended control over a vast territory of the island's hinterland.
With the emperor Augustus (21 BC) the city rose to the rank of Latin / Roman colony and began a period of splendor until the fifth century AD.
Christianity spread rapidly along with the persecutions of Decius and Diocletian.
In this long period, in the second half of the second century AD, the martyrdom of St. Agatha (251 AD) patroness of the city and of Sant'Euplio.
The Vandals who occupied Sicily (476 AD) followed, marking the beginning of a new era: the Middle Ages.
The Vandals followed the Heruli then the Ostrogoths who rekindled in the city the distant glories of the precedents of Rome.
The three centuries of the Byzantine era followed (555-875 AD) in which Catania moved considerable economic and cultural vitality.
The Arabs arrived in Catania around the end of the ninth century AD and the city changed its name and became Medinat el Fil (or Balad el Fil).
Markets, splendid palaces and mosques made the city at that time an active and fertile center.
The new millennium saw the Byzantines fail in an attempt to regain Sicily by opening the Norman-Swabian age.
The medieval city
The Normans, captained by Count Ruggero conquered Sicily and Catania (1082).
This new dominion granted a rebirth of the city and a powerful diocese was strengthened with the monastic order of the Benedictines.
Count Ruggero succeeded his son Roger II, first king of Sicily (1130).
At his death he succeeded King William called "the Malo" because of the injustices perpetrated which followed William II called the Good (1167-1189).
Under his reign, the 4 February 1169, Catania suffered a terrible earthquake that determined 15.000 victims on a total population of 20.000 inhabitants.
Rasa to the ground, Catania resources and rebuilt, among other things, the Cathedral.
William II died without leaving heirs and the Suevi took power in Sicily thanks to the marriage of Costanza d'Altavilla with Henry VI of Swabia.
Followed by Federico II to whom the city nobility rebelled (1232).
A legend tells that the Ursino Castle was wanted by Frederick II to control the rebels.
In 1266 Sicily was assigned by the Pope to Charles I of Anjou.
The Angevin domain was short-lived.
The people of Catania moved to overthrow the "bad signoria" that had subjected them to exploitation, injustice and the closure of the city's ports.
The Renaissance city
The Sicilian Vespers (1282) put an end to French rule and opened the doors to that of the Aragonese.
Sicily was declared a province of the Aragonese kingdom.
Catania was the seat of the coronation of Peter I of Sicily and was often the seat of parliament and home of the royal family.
With Alfonso the Magnanimous the 25 May 1416, in the hall of the Parliaments of Castello Ursino, barons and prelates swore loyalty to the Sovereign.
Sicily became part of the Spanish possessions and Catania was ruled by a viceroy until the revolt of the people against Ugo Moncada (1516).
The baroque city
The unfortunate seventeenth century brought destruction with the lava flow of the 1669 and the 1693 earthquake but Catania reacted by opposing to those events an exemplary rebirth.
The Duke of Camastra promoted the urban design on which the city was rebuilt and reborn in Catania "the baroque city" that today opens in the eyes of every visitor.
In the following century the economy also developed, occupying one of the first places in Italian commerce ever since.
Text taken from:
"Catania Cultural Tourist Guide"