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.

The senses tell about Palazzo Nicolaci

The Supernatural dimension of the chapel of the Santissimo Sacramento

Modica, a city with ancient origins

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

The disastrous earthquake

A square as the heart of the city

A Nobel Prize in Modica

The Barresi-Branciforte lords

St. Agatha and the giant candelabras

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

A hall for the feasts

Some prestigious works

The wall comes to life

Palazzo Nicolaci di Villadorata, who is the architect?

Wonderful quick decorations

The church of Carmine

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

Discovering the mother church

One city, two sites

Rosario Gagliardi, the maestro of the Val di Noto

Connections with other UNESCO sites

The two churches

The character of Badia Sant’Agata

Garden of Novices and the restorations by Giancarlo De Carlo

The chocolate of Modica

A city in colour

Feast days

St. Sebastian, so much work!

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Sebastiano

Militello, the story of an enlightened fiefdom

The colours of the cathedral

San Benedetto: a treasure reopened to the public

A design by Vincenzo Sinatra

The Feast of San Giacomo (St. James)

A half-Baroque church

The façade used as a puppet theatre

Two illustrious patron saints

A prominent church

From International Gothic to present day

Fontana della Ninfa Zizza, public water in the town

The cathedral of Sant’Agata: a lengthy reconstruction

The interior and its masterpieces

Corbels: a celebration of the Nicolaci family

Some masterpieces

A colourful floor

Feasting in Palazzolo

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

One city, three sites

The senses tell about Palazzo Napolino Tommasi Rosso

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

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

From St. Thomas to St. Joseph

Norman apses

A new site for a new city

A new palace for the La Rocca lords

The senses tell the story of the Church of the Annunciation

The city of museums

The senses tell the story of the Church of San Benedetto

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

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

A feast only for Scicli

San Nicolò l’Arena: an unfinished church

A majestic and luminous church

The kitchen, a treasure chest of colours

Prominent façade

Places of knowledge: the Benedictines’ library

The senses tell the story of the church of San Giuseppe

Baroque and the loss of equilibrium in the 16th century

Searching for colour

A symbol for the town

The senses tell about Palazzo La Rocca

New roads for Catania

A talking palace

The theatre of taste

The Burgos crucifix

A triumph of colour

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

The Infiorata, a feast of colours and flowers

A small room with a golden entrance

An eagle-shaped city

The Staircase of Angels

Between white and black

The senses tell the Cathedral of Sant’Agata

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

A new site for a new church

A new entrance for Santa Chiara (St. Claire)

The Maiolica of the staircase

A museum to save a tradition

Many owners, one palace

The senses tell the story of the Church of Santa Chiara

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

A miniature city

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

The internal colours

The Baroque town by the sea

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

A long reconstruction

The Benedictine Monastery, one of the largest in Europe

Limestone, the colour of harmony