A square as the heart of the city

The project for the new roads of Catania was designed by the master engineer Giuseppe Vespa, likely under the supervision of the famous engineer Carlos de Grunenbergh and, in collaboration with the Duke of Camastra , the decision was made to reorganise the city and adopt Piazza Duomo as the focal point.
Piazza inquadrando l'elefante punto centraleIt was then that Catania was reborn. The new square was larger and wider than the former Platea Magna .
Both religious and secular powers were represented in this building; the cathedral was rebuilt on the site of the old church, whose apses had remained standing. The Archbishop’s Palace, the Seminary Palace of the Clerics and the Senatorial Palace were then built.
In the centre is the Fontana dell'Elefante (Fountain of the Elephant), now a symbol of the city, which was designed by architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini and unveiled in 1737. The obelisk, brought from Egypt and placed on top of the elephant, is 3.61 metres tall.
On the top was placed a globe featuring a cross and the initials of St. Agatha, the city’s patron saint .
Palazzo Senatorio Fontana dell'Elefante Obelisco
Beneath the elephant, finally, is a pedestal with statues of the two rivers of Catania, the Amenano and the Simeto.
dettaglio fiume Amenano elefante obelisco fiume Simeto elefante obelisco
The end result is a breathtaking square.
The alternating use of dark grey lava stone with white limestone creates surprising contrast. A perfect example of this can be found in the cathedral or senatorial palace.
Effects of light and shadow complete and accentuate the contrasts of the square, reminiscent of a theatre stage.

A prominent church

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

Wonderful quick decorations

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

A feast only for Scicli

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

Connections with other UNESCO sites

Many owners, one palace

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

The city of museums

A small room with a golden entrance

Modica, a city with ancient origins

Prominent façade

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The façade used as a puppet theatre

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The senses tell the story of the Badia di Sant’Agata

One city, three sites

A miniature city

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The Staircase of Angels

Feasting in Palazzolo

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

A hall for the feasts

Norman apses

Between white and black

The disastrous earthquake

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

A new site for a new city

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

A majestic and luminous church

A new site for a new church

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

A city in colour

Discovering the mother church

The Maiolica of the staircase

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

A symbol for the town

The theatre of taste

A long reconstruction

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

A talking palace

A museum to save a tradition

Church of San Giuliano (St. Julian) on Via dei Crociferi: reconstruction

The church of Carmine

A triumph of colour

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

The interior and its masterpieces

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giovanni Battista

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

New roads for Catania

Searching for colour

Some masterpieces

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

From the contrast of the exterior to the internal jubilation of colours

A Nobel Prize in Modica

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giuliano ai Crociferi

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

The senses tell the Benedictine Monastery and San NicoIò l’Arena

From International Gothic to present day

The colours of the cathedral

The chocolate of Modica

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The senses tell the story of the church of Santa Maria del Carmelo

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

St. Sebastian, so much work!

An eagle-shaped city

A square as the heart of the city

Feast days

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

A colourful floor

The senses tell the Mother Church of San Nicolò and of the Santissimo Salvatore

The internal colours

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Giovanni Evangelista

The wall comes to life

The Baroque town by the sea

The two churches

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

Limestone, the colour of harmony

The Burgos crucifix

Two illustrious patron saints

Some prestigious works

One city, two sites

The role of the religious orders in rebuilding the Val di Noto

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

Freedom of worship and the role of the Catholic Church in the diffusion of Baroque

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

The senses tell the story of the staircase of Santa Maria del Monte

A half-Baroque church