Master engineer Giuseppe Vespa designed the project for the new roads of Catania. In collaboration with the administration, he chose Piazza Duomo as the central point.
The new square was wider than the old Platea Magna and was where the most important religious and secular buildings were built: the Cathedral of Sant'Agata was rebuilt on the remains of the ancient Norman cathedral; the Archbishop’s Palace, the Seminary Palace of the Clerics and the Senatorial Palace were also built here.
In the centre of the square, the Fountain of the Elephant was built in 1736 by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini as a representative symbol of the city.
It is located at the point where the main roads merge, similar to the Bernini model of the Elephant and Obelisk in Rome.
Over time, it was completed with subsequent additions that preserve the memory of different historical periods, also seen in its materials.
The Egyptian obelisk, just over three and a half metres tall, is placed on the elephant’s back and has a globe on top, at the top of which shines a cross with the initials of St. Agatha, the city’s patron saint.
Below the elephant is a pedestal with the statues of the two rivers .
The materials used are dark lava stone from Roman times and white limestone, which recall the colours of the architecture overlooking the square, defined by scenic backdrops.