The Cathedral and Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) is the hub of Catania’s social and religious life and should not be missed when visiting the city. It is just 2 km away from our b&b (just walk along Corso Umberto I in the opposite direction to the sea and then stroll along the beautiful Via Etnea). It is also a reference point for tourists and home to some of Catania’s main attractions. The first, and probably the most important of them all is the Saint Agatha Cathedral, a religious building, dedicated to the virgin and martyr patron.  It has undergone numerous changes and refurbishments over the years mainly due to catastrophic events such as earthquakes and damage following the eruptions of Mount Etna. The current structure dates back to the 18th century (while the original structure is from the 11th century) and is the work of the architect Gian Battista Vaccarini.

piazza duomo catania

The facade is divided into three orders featuring a marble statue of Saint Agatha, a majestic wooden door that houses depictions of life scenes of the patron martyr, coats of arms of popes and symbols of Christianity. The bell tower is housed within a square-based tower, a few metres behind the religious building. The interior is equally impressive and is of considerable size. There is a large window in the centre of the apse (one of the few remnants of the original structure), a beautiful Norman-style altar and the Chapel of Saint Agatha with the relics of the patron saint: this is the place to which people in Catania are the most attached.

palazzo seminario chierici catania
Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici, Catania

The Cathedral is located on the east side of Piazza del Duomo which features other particularly interesting buildings. One of these is the Elephant Palace, the current Town Hall, which dates back to the end of the 17th century: the square inner courtyard can be seen. On the other side of the square is the Palace of Clerics, connected to the Cathedral by passing through the Uzeda Gate; and the Amenano Fountain: just like the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome, the Amenano Fountain also has a tradition of coin throwing and wish making in the hope that it will come true. The fountain is a splendid testament to the art of the second half of the nineteenth century and was built by the Neapolitan master Tito Angelini. It represents the Amenano River as a young man holding a cornucopia, from which water pours into a bathtub below.

The Elephant Fountain

In the centre of Piazza del Duomo there is a statue of an elephant topped with an obelisk, which the locals call “u Liotru“, the symbol of Catania. 

Finally, under the piazza (the square) you can see the remains of the Achillane Baths, Roman thermal structures that date back to the 4th and 5th centuries. Unfortunately, only a small portion remains of what would have been quite a large complex of baths.

To discover all the other beautiful things in Catania please do not hesitate to contact our reception desk.

fontana elefante catania
The Elephant Fountain

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