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Isoleinviaggio Tour Operator
Group and individual travels to Sicily, Malta and smaller islands

Founded by the Calcidian around 8th century AC, the ancient Katane was conquered in 476 BC. from Ierone di Siracusa, which gave it the name of Etna. Under the Romans, on 3rd century AC the city became a commercial emporium of notable importance for trafficking in the Mediterranean. After a long period of decline, Catania returned to new splendor under the Normans, who conquered it in 1071. Under the Aragonese kingdom Catania lived a period of great magnificence, testified by the foundation of the first Sicilian university, the Siculorum Gymnasium. In the 16th century the Spaniards rebuilt its urban structure, building walls, doors, bastions, churches and buildings of extraordinary beauty. In 1669 a huge lava flow of Etna flooded the western districts and interrupted the port. In 1693 a catastrophic earthquake reduced the city to a heap of ruins, leaving only five buildings standing, including the Ursino Castle. The reconstruction of the city lasted throughout the 18th and 19th centuries: it was then that the splendid and inimitable Baroque face of Catania was born, marked everywhere by the genius of the architect Gian Battista Vaccarini, to whom they owe the most famous works of the city. The use of lava stone, alternated with limestone from the province of Syracuse, has given the buildings of Baroque style a characteristic "black and white" imprint.

Emblem of the city is the Elephant Fountain, also called U Liotru, a statue of black basalt placed in the center of the spectacular Piazza Duomo, where stands the splendid Cathedral of Sant'Agata. Inside there is the tomb of the famous musician Vincenzo Bellini and a very valuable urn containing the relics of the patron saint of the city.

Along the baroque streets, from Via Etnea to Via dei Crociferi, there are other ancient and charming aristocratic palaces, such as Palazzo Biscari, and religious buildings, such as the Church of the Abbey of Sant'Agata, the Church of the Collegiata. The beautiful complex of the Benedictine Monastery dates back to the Renaissance period and now it hosts the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy.
Catania, city of culture since ancient times, preserves a Roman Theater and a Odéon dating back to the 2nd century. The Roman Amphitheater, visible only in part, occupies part of the central Piazza Stesicoro. Built in the Roman era around the second century AD, with its 15,000 thousand seats is one of the largest buildings of the time.

Also to be visited is the Bellini Theater, inaugurated in 1890 with the Norma by Vincenzo Bellini and equipped with excellent acoustics.


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