What you have to visit during your stay in Catania
If you are planning your next holiday in Catania, you are now in the right place! Catania is a city rich in history and monuments, all of them certainly deserve a visit but if you have not much time,we suggest you the five monuments that you must absolutely see!
Duomo square and the cathedral
The main square in Catania, with its fountain of the Elephant (U Liotru) and the majestic cathedral dedicated to St. Agatha, Patron Saint of the city. It was built at the request of Count Roger on the ruins of the Achillian Thermae (now accessible through a door on the right side of the facade) and then completely destroyed by the earthquake on 1693. The actual construction is due to Vaccariniwho rebuilt it between 1733 and 1761. Inside the church there are many monuments among which deserve particular attention the portal of the right transept, the portal of the right apse chapel that encloses the room of St. Agatha (cammaredda), and even the painting of the eruption of 1669. It is also possible to see the tomb of Constance of Aragon and Vincenzo Bellini.
The church of San Benedetto
Not far from Duomo Square is Via Crociferi, known as “street of the baroque style in Catania”: along this street in fact you can admire churches perhaps the most beautiful and evocative of the city. Among them stands out the church of San Benedetto, dedicated to St. Benedetto from Norcia and connected to the homonymous monastery in which live the nuns of the Benedictine order. The majestic wooden entrance door represents episodes from the life of St. Benedetto. Inside you can admire eighteenth-century paintings: raising your eyes to the ceiling you will see the “Glory of St. Benedetto” made in 1750.
No more than 5 minutes walk from Via Crociferi is the majestic Benedictine Monastery, a magnificent example of late Sicilian Baroque and one of the largest Benedictine complexes in Europe, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the University of Catania. It was founded in 1558, destroyed by natural disasters, especially by the earthquake of 1693 after which from the monastery remains the basement and part of the first floor. At the beginning of the 1700s the reconstruction works began and among the many architects who took part in them we remember Ittar, Palazzotto, and Vaccarini. Today, going to Piazza Dante, you will admire the majestic church, remained unfinished as evidenced by the four pairs of columns on the facade. However, it remains one of the largest churches in Sicily. Inside the monastery you can visit the cloisters, the seventeenth-century basement, the large refectory and libraries gathered “Civica and A. Ursino Recupero”.
Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini
In the heart of Catania, a few steps from duomo Square and Via Etnea, you will find the Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini which overlooks the impressive square of the same name, home of the nightlife of Catania. The construction of the theater was entrusted in 1870 to the architects Scala and Sada. In 1890 the theatre was inaugurated with the performance of “La Norma” by Vincenzo Bellini. Looking at the facade of the theater you can see the busts of 3 well-known composers from Catania: Bellini, Coppola and Pacini.
The Bellini Theatre is now the theatre with the best acoustics in the world, it has a capacity of 1200 seats and inside there are valuable paintings, such as the one on the ceiling depicting the apotheosis of Bellini with the allegories of his major works: La Norma, La Sonnambula, I Pirati e I Puritani.
It was built by Frederick II of Svevia in 1200, the name most likely comes from ‘Castrum sinus’, which means ‘castle of the Gulf’ because it was initially overlooking the sea, but a lava flow of Etna of 1669 took him away from the coast a few hundred meters. the interior holds works of considerable artistic interest, today the castle is home to the Civic Museum and hosts the archaeological sections: medieval, Renaissance and modern. Here are kept archaeological finds, epigraphs, coins, sculptures, paintings, Greek and Roman clay sarcophagi, mosaics from all over the province of Catania, from Centuripe, Lentini, Rome, Trapani, Caltagirone, Ercolanoand Camarina.