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.

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

A majestic and luminous church

Discovering the mother church

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The city of museums

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

A city in colour

A square as the heart of the city

The colours of the cathedral

Modica, a city with ancient origins

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

The disastrous earthquake

A hall for the feasts

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

The chocolate of Modica

The church of Carmine

The Baroque town by the sea

A museum to save a tradition

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

A small room with a golden entrance

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

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

The interior and its masterpieces

A half-Baroque church

Limestone, the colour of harmony

Wonderful quick decorations

The two churches

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

Feasting in Palazzolo

Between white and black

Two illustrious patron saints

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

The wall comes to life

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

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

Some masterpieces

A feast only for Scicli

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

A long reconstruction

Some prestigious works

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

Norman apses

New roads for Catania

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

Many owners, one palace

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

From International Gothic to present day

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The Staircase of Angels

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

A colourful floor

A new site for a new church

Feast days

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

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

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

Prominent façade

Searching for colour

St. Sebastian, so much work!

A prominent church

A symbol for the town

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

One city, three sites

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

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

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

An eagle-shaped city

A new site for a new city

The Maiolica of the staircase

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

A triumph of colour

The Burgos crucifix

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

A miniature city

A talking palace

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

The theatre of taste

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

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

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

A Nobel Prize in Modica

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

One city, two sites

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

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

The façade used as a puppet theatre

The internal colours