Catania is the most incredible city in Sicily, founded in 729 B. C. by the Chalcidinians, and characterized by its incredibly courageous position: it’s on the foot of Mount Etna, destroyed by Volcano lava and rebuilt of volcano lava. Numerous eruptions swept away old monuments, but local people manage to preserve that memory. The most tragic period In the history of Catania was the XVII century marked by the 1669 eruption which lasted five long months and by the 1693 earthquake. The local people had to withstand the tragedy by themselves as the King was deadly deaf to their appeal for help.
The Cathedral, erected on the Roman Baths, and dedicated to the divine Saint Agatha, martyred during the Diocletian’s persecutions, is enriched with symbolic baroque elements. The funeral monument to Vincezo Bellini, a musician and opera composer, recalls the volcanic creativity of the Sicilian prodigy. People from Catania (Catanese) are extremely creative, openhearted, noisy, friendly, gesticulating rapidly and using the commonly comprehended body language. The best place to enjoy their hospitality is the Old Fish Market behind the Amenano River, carried as a symbol of prosperity on antique coins. The indestructible medieval Ursino Castle reminds about the silent presence of Fredric II the Swabian, nowadays it’s an elegant Gallery of Sicilian Arts and Culture established thanks to the generous efforts of Prince Biscari, a good friend of Wolfgang Goethe. The most incredible legend lives in the enigmatic Crociferi street, it’s about the Headless Horseman, still wandering there. The astronomer Sartorius, baron of Watershausen, completed the great sundial – 39 meters long – in the Old Benedictine Monastery, nowadays the University of Catania, established in 1434.