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 museum to save a tradition

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

A majestic and luminous church

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

A hall for the feasts

A prominent church

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

A long reconstruction

One city, two sites

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

A Nobel Prize in Modica

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

The city of museums

The Burgos crucifix

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

A small room with a golden entrance

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

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

A square as the heart of the city

Some prestigious works

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The theatre of taste

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

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

The Baroque town by the sea

New roads for Catania

A half-Baroque church

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

The chocolate of Modica

A new site for a new city

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

An eagle-shaped city

The internal colours

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

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

Some masterpieces

Between white and black

The church of Carmine

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

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

One city, three sites

Feasting in Palazzolo

Prominent façade

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

Feast days

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

The interior and its masterpieces

The Maiolica of the staircase

From International Gothic to present day

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

A triumph of colour

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Modica, a city with ancient origins

The disastrous earthquake

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

A city in colour

Searching for colour

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

A miniature city

A talking palace

Limestone, the colour of harmony

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

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

The colours of the cathedral

Discovering the mother church

Many owners, one palace

The Staircase of Angels

A new site for a new church

Wonderful quick decorations

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

Two illustrious patron saints

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The wall comes to life

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

A feast only for Scicli

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

A symbol for the town

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

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

Norman apses

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

A colourful floor

The two churches