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Catania (Italy)
Country Italy
region Sicily
Metropolitan city Catania  (CT)
Local name Catania
Coordinates 37 ° 30 '  N , 15 ° 5'  E Coordinates: 37 ° 30 '9 "  N , 15 ° 5' 14"  E
height m slm
surface 180 km²
Residents 311,402 (Dec. 31, 2019)
Factions San Giovanni Galermo
Post Code 95100
prefix 095
ISTAT number 087015
Popular name Catanesi
Patron saint Sant'Agata (February 5th)
Website Catania
Collage Catania.jpg

With 311,402 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2019), Catania is the second largest city in the Italian autonomous region of Sicily after Palermo and the capital of the metropolitan city of Catania . The city is located on the east coast of Sicily and at the foot of Mount Etna , the largest active volcano in Europe.

Catania is one of the late Baroque cities of the Val di Noto that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Aerial view of Catania, with
Mount Etna in the background

The port city of Catania is located on the east coast of Sicily at the mouth of the Simeto River and at the southern foot of Mount Etna , the largest and most active volcano in Europe .

More than 650,000 people live in the agglomeration of Catania, which extends north of the city to the foot of Mount Etna. In addition to Catania, the agglomeration includes the municipalities (according to their size) Acireale , Misterbianco , Paternò , Gravina di Catania , Aci Catena , Mascalucia , Belpasso , Tremestieri Etneo , San Giovanni la Punta , Aci Castello , Aci Sant'Antonio , Pedara , San Gregorio di Catania , Motta Sant'Anastasia , Sant'Agata li Battiati , Trecastagni , Valverde , Viagrande , Nicolosi , San Pietro Clarenza , Camporotondo Etneo and Aci Bonaccorsi .

The immediate neighboring communities of Catania are Belpasso , Carlentini , Gravina di Catania , Lentini , Mascalucia , Misterbianco , Motta Sant'Anastasia , San Gregorio di Catania , San Pietro Clarenza , Sant'Agata li Battiati and Tremestieri Etneo .

Administrative division

Administrative districts of Catania

Catania has been divided into ten administrative districts ( Municipalità ) since 1995 (before that, the older divisions from 1971 and 1978 were in effect):

  • I. Centro
  • II. Ognina - Picanello
  • III. Borgo - Sanzio
  • IV. Barriera - Canalicchio
  • V. San Giovanni Galermo
  • VI. Trappeto - Cibali
  • VII. Monte Po - Nesima
  • VIII. San Leone - Rapisardi
  • IX. San Giorgio - Librino
  • X. San Giuseppe La Rena - Zia Lisa


The climate of Catania is Mediterranean , with hot summers and mild winters. Most of the precipitation falls between October and February. From April the climate is arid . Catania is one of the places with the most hours of sunshine in Europe. In winter, when the sun is shining, temperatures can rise to spring-like values ​​during the day and drop to freezing point at night due to the clear sky.

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Catania
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 15.5 16.1 18.0 20.6 25.2 30.0 33.1 33.3 29.8 24.9 20.1 16.5 O 23.6
Min. Temperature (° C) 5.4 5.4 6.3 8.2 12.0 16.4 19.0 19.9 17.6 13.9 9.6 6.6 O 11.7
Precipitation ( mm ) 64.2 43.7 31.6 24.7 21.7 8.7 5.7 13.1 31.4 62.7 66.0 73.0 Σ 446.5
Rainy days ( d ) 6.1 5.8 5.0 4.8 3.2 1.2 0.6 1.9 3.6 5.4 5.9 7.2 Σ 50.7
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec



Greek city

Catania was originally settled by Sikelern . Around 729 BC The Chalkidians , who had moved to Naxos a few years earlier , established a Greek colony on the site of the Sicelian city, which they called Katane . The leader of the Chalcidians in founding this colony was Thukles; the Katanaians, however, made Euarchus the Oikistes of their city. During the archaic period, katane was autonomous. Nothing is known about its history during the first two centuries after its founding. In the 6th century BC BC Charondas gave his hometown Katane, like other Chalcidian colonies in Sicily, a legal system. Katane gained fame through his connections with the lyric poet Stesichoros - whose grave was at the Stesischoreischen Tor -, also with the lyric poet Ibykos and with the philosopher and poet Xenophanes .

From the early 5th century BC Katane was under the rule of Syracuse . Hieron drove out 475 BC BC the inhabitants of the city, which he had moved to Leontinoi , and instead of their 10,000 new colonists, consisting of Syracusans and Peloponnesians, settled in Katane. The city was given a new name, Aitne , and its territory was also expanded significantly by including neighboring areas. Through this measure Hieron wanted to create loyal followers and also to be glorified as the founder of the newly founded city. As such he was also celebrated by Pindar in an ode ( Pythia 1), and after he died in 466 BC. When he died in Katane-Aitne, he received heroic honors from the inhabitants of the new colony. But soon after Hieron's death, namely 461 BC BC, the expelled Katanaians took control of their city again after the Hieronic colonists had been defeated by the Syracusans and the Sicelians under Duketios and driven out of Katane. The name Aitne was now transferred to the small town of Inessa on Etna , where the hieronic colonists had fled. No information has come down to the history of Katane over the next few decades.

Early 425 BC A lava flow devastated the territory of Katane. During the Sicilian Expedition of Athens , the city was 415 v. First on the side of Syracuse and therefore did not allow the Athenian ships to land in their port. However, it allowed the Athenian generals to come into the city for talks, and during a speech by Alcibiades the Athenians managed to get into Katane through an insufficiently guarded gate. The city's party that had favored an alliance with Syracuse had to give way. Instead, Katane now supported the Athenians, who from then on served as a base of operations against Syracuse. After the Athenians in 413 BC Were completely defeated, their survivors fled to Katane, among other places, especially the relatively few horsemen led by Kallistratos .

Dionysius I of Syracuse conquered 403 BC BC Katane, profiting from the betrayal of the general Arkesilaos. As a result, Dionysius sold the inhabitants as slaves and had the city plundered, in which he then settled Campanian mercenaries. But they left Katane in 396 BC. BC again and were resettled to Aitne-Inessa. In the same year a sea battle took place near the coast of Katane, in which the Carthaginian Nauarch Mago defeated the fleet of des Leptines , a brother of Dionysius. It is not known who lived in the city afterwards.

Callippus , Dion's murderer , conquered in 353 BC. BC Katane, but had to accept the loss of Syracuse. 344 BC The city was under the tyranny of the Italian Mamercus, who initially supported the Corinthian military leader and politician Timoleon when he landed in Sicily. Timoleon was able to use Katane as a base of operations. Mamercus later switched to the Carthaginian side, but was decisively defeated by Timoleon, so that Timoleon Katane got under his control again. After that, the city was given back its freedom and it seems to have retained its independence for some time. When Agathocles of Syracuse in 311 BC BC lost a battle at Eknomos, Katane went over to the Carthaginians. 278 BC The Katanaians welcomed Pyrrhus on his arrival in Sicily enthusiastically and with great splendor.

Roman rule

Roman theater in the center of Catania

At the beginning of the First Punic War , Katane was founded in 263 BC. Captured by the Romans . The consul Manius Valerius Maximus Corvinus Messalla brought a sundial from Katane to Rome as a booty and had it set up at the speaker's platform, where it remained the main public clock for almost 100 years despite the incorrect time display.

Katane then probably belonged to the kingdom of King Hieron II of Syracuse . In the Roman province of Sicilia , the city had to pay tribute to the Romans ( civitas decumana ). The conqueror of Syracuse, Marcus Claudius Marcellus , had a high school built in Katane. Around 135 BC In the course of the First Slave War, rebellious slaves conquered the city, for which there was fierce fighting afterwards. This resulted in considerable destruction in Katane. 123 BC The city suffered so much from a lava flow caused by an Etna eruption that the Roman Senate made the area tax-free for ten years.

In the 1st century BC BC Katane rose again to a new bloom and was a prosperous city. The highest magistrate bore the title Proagorus . The city appears to have been one of the main Sicilian export ports for grain. When Gaius Verres at the end of the 1970s BC BC as governor of Sicily, the tithe tenant Apronius Katane plundered; Numerous silver implements were also stolen. Later, the city was badly affected by the devastation caused by Sextus Pompeius and was one of the cities that Augustus raised to a Roman colony . This measure seems to have largely restored Katane's wealth, making it one of the few flourishing cities in Sicily in Strabon's time .

Katane remained extremely prosperous throughout the entire imperial period , even if, for example, another Etna eruption occurred in 251 AD. According to legend, only the wonderful power of St. Agatha, who had recently died here as a martyr , averted greater ruin from the city. Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire took place here under Emperor Decius and Diocletian . In the 4th century Ausonius only mentioned Catania and Syracuse as Sicilian cities in his Ordo nobilium urbium . The heyday of Catania during the imperial period is testament to extensive and significant remains from Roman times, which survived the frequent devastation caused by earthquakes and eruptions of Mount Etna. Ruins of walls, aqueducts , baths, mosaics, a grammar school and two theaters inside and a large amphitheater outside the city were preserved. Catania is also surrounded by extensive necropolises .

Middle Ages and Modern Times

In 535 AD Belisarius conquered Catania, which had fallen into the hands of the Goths and which again became one of the most important cities in Sicily under Byzantine rule. In the 9th century Catania fell into the hands of the Arabs. According to Ibn al-Athir, the surrounding area was destroyed by Muslims in 884. In 1071 the Norman Prince Roger I drove the Arabs out of Catania, installed a bishop here and founded a Benedictine monastery . On February 4, 1170, a severe earthquake destroyed almost the entire city and 15,000 people died. In 1197 the rebellious Sicilians were in front of Catania by the army of Emperor Heinrich VI. beaten, whereupon the city was largely destroyed. Emperor Friedrich II also razed the renegade city to the ground and built a strong castle there from 1239 to 1250, the Castello Ursino . The Aragonese rulers of Sicily often resided here in the 13th and 14th centuries. Emperor Charles V enlarged the city and granted it many privileges.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Catania suffered from unrest, pirate attacks, epidemics, famine and natural disasters. In 1669 parts of the city were buried under lava flows after another volcanic eruption of Etna; a new bank formation was created south of the port. A severe earthquake almost completely destroyed Catania on January 11, 1693; around 110,000 people lost their lives. In the following decades it was rebuilt in the baroque style that still characterizes the cityscape today. Since many buildings are made of lava rock , the city is also known as the Black Daughter of Etna .

Later Catania came to the Bourbon Kingdom of Naples . The eruption of Mount Etna in 1819 again wreaked havoc in the city. Riots that broke out here during an outbreak of cholera in 1837 were vigorously suppressed. On January 12, 1848, a popular uprising took place in Catania; By February 6, after bloody skirmishes with the military, the Cutelli College and Fort Santa Agata had been conquered by the people. General Carlo Filangieri , entrusted by King Ferdinand II with the supreme command against the rebellious Sicily , took Catania on April 7th, 1849 after great losses. In 1860, the procession of a thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi led to the conquest of Sicily, which was wrested from the rule of the Spanish Bourbons . From then on Catania belonged to the United Kingdom of Italy . During the Second World War in 1943, fierce fighting and bombing ravaged the city. The Germans evacuated them on August 5, 1943, after which Catania was occupied by the British 8th Army .


Catania's Fontanarossa Airport is 2 kilometers south of the city and 1 kilometer southwest of the port. In 2017 it had a traffic volume of 9.1 million passengers.

The city has direct access to the A18 / E45 highways , south towards Syracuse and north to Messina, as well as the A19 / E932 , through the interior to the north coast.

Connected to the Ferrovie dello Stato network with the Catania Centrale train station ( Messina – Syracuse and Catania – Agrigento ). The distances to Messina are almost 100 kilometers, to Syracuse just under 60 kilometers and to Palermo about 250 kilometers. The Ferrovia Circumetnea runs beside a narrow gauge railway around the Etna and a subway line that Catania Metro .

The sea port of Catania ( porto di Catania ) was expanded by Mussolini's regime in the 1930s. It is mainly used by merchant ships, ferries and cruise lines. Ferries commute z. B. to Malta. The main train station is one kilometer from the port.

education and Science

Main building of the University of Catania

The Università degli Studi di Catania was founded in 1434 by Alfonso of Aragon, making it the oldest university in Sicily.

The Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania is also internationally known .

The state art school Istituto Statale d'Arte di Catania offers courses in sculpture and painting.

Cityscape and buildings

The old town has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2002, along with eight other baroque towns in Val di Noto . After the almost complete destruction by the volcanic eruption in 1669 and the earthquake in 1693, Catania was rebuilt mainly in the Roman Baroque style under the direction of the builder Giovanni Battista Vaccarini .

The sights include many buildings and monuments from this era.


  • The cathedral of Catania is the Saint Agatha , the patron saint of the city consecrated. The original church was built as a Norman fortified church at the end of the 11th century. Little is left of this building today. After the devastating earthquake, Vaccarini created a new baroque facade. In the cathedral is the tomb of the Catania-born composer Vincenzo Bellini .
  • The Badia di Sant 'Agata, a former abbey with a baroque church, was also rebuilt under the direction of Vaccarini.
  • The Church of San Benedetto in Via dei Crociferi , the most beautiful baroque street in Catania, is an example of the Barocco Siciliano . It is decorated with frescoes by Giovanni Tuccari from Messina.
  • The neighboring Chiesa di San Giuliano (1763) by Giuseppe Palazzotto is considered one of the most beautiful examples of the Catanesian late baroque.
  • The former Benedictine monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena now houses the University of Catania . The church of San Nicolò belongs to the monastery. Reconstruction began several times after 1693. However, for financial reasons it was never completed, so the facade of the baroque building is incomplete.
  • The Sicilian Baroque style collegiata was originally the royal palace chapel. The facade is by Stefano Ittar .


  • The Palazzo Biscari is the most important palazzo in Catania. It was built by order of the Paternò family Castello principi di Biscari . The interior of the palace shows elements of the Rococo style .
  • The Palazzo degli Elefanti , located in the Piazza del Duomo, now houses the City Hall of Catania.
  • The Palazzo Valle was built by Vaccarini between 1740 and 1750.
  • The Palazzo di Giustizia, the Palace of Justice, was built between 1937 and 1953 under the direction of the architect Francesco Fichera. The facade is in the late baroque style. In the entrance area there is a bronze statue of Justitia , a work by MM Lazzaro.
  • The Palazzo Reburdone is a late work by Vaccarini and was built for the Guttadauro di Reburdone family . The aristocratic palace is assigned to the Catanesian late baroque.
  • The Palazzo del Toscano, built in 1870 by the architect Enrico Alvino, served as the city residence for the noble family of the Paternò marchesi del Toscano .

More Attractions

Elephant fountain - symbol of Catania
  • The traditional fish market Pescheria di Catania ( Piscarìa in Sicilian) is located near the Piazza del Duomo .
  • In front of the cathedral on the Piazza del Duomo stands the elephant fountain , the symbol of Catania, built by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini . The elephant made of black lava rock carries an ancient Egyptian obelisk made of light granite. The obelisk was probably set up as a target column in the amphitheater in Roman times, the hieroglyphs refer to the goddess Isis .
  • On the south side of the Piazza del Duomo is the Museo Diocesano (Diocesan Museum).
  • The city's amphitheater , built of marble and lava stone, was one of the largest in Sicily in ancient times with 7,000 seats. Today it is partially overbuilt by baroque buildings.
  • The house where the writer Giovanni Verga was born and the house where the composer Vincenzo Bellini was born are well worth seeing . Museums have been set up in both.
  • The Casa Museo Giovanni Verga is a literary museum in the house where Giovanni Verga was born, who as a novelist and writer of short stories is one of the most important exponents of Italian naturalism.
  • The Via Etnea , Catania's main street with many shops and places, is about three kilometers long and runs straight from Piazza del Duomo towards Etna .
  • The Castello Ursino , built around 1240 on the orders of the Staufer Emperor Frederick II , was the residence of the Aragonese kings in the 14th century. Presumably at the time of the Spanish rule in the 16th century, the top floor was removed and the current state of construction was restored. It currently houses the Museo Civico , which has a collection of Greek sculptures, among other things.
  • At the Porta Judice llo one arrives at the still preserved Jewish cemetery of the Giudecca and the Jewish baths .


Teatro Massimo Bellini

In terms of culture, Catania can not only look back on its baroque architecture. The opera composers Vincenzo Bellini and Giovanni Pacini are among the city's sons, as is the writer Giovanni Verga . The Teatro Massimo Bellini , the artistically landscaped park Villa Bellini in the center of the city, the airport and a pasta dish called Pasta alla Norma are dedicated to Bellini, probably the best-known Catanese .

From February 3rd to 5th, one of the largest festivals in Sicily takes place in Catania, attracting over 200,000 people annually. This festival is held in honor of Saint Agatha . On the first day, huge candles are carried through the streets of Catania on the shoulders of dozens of volunteers. In the following days a relic statue and some silver sedan chairs are dragged through the streets. On the last day, the statue is carried back into the cathedral and remains there well protected until the next year.


Catania is the most important economic region in Sicily. Companies from the semiconductor and IT sectors are located in and around Catania . The largest industrial employer is the electronics group STMicroelectronics with around 4600 employees.

Other important branches of the economy are the plastics industry , the food industry , agriculture and tourism .

The city is also the seat of the Bundeswehr administrative center for Italy.


The most popular sport in the city is soccer . The Catania Calcio club was founded in 1946, rose from Serie C2 in recent years and plays in Serie B in the 2014/15 season . The Stadio Angelo Massimino holds 23,200 seats. On February 2, 2007, after the derby against Palermo (1: 2), riots broke out between hooligans and the police, killing one police officer. Other Serie A games were then suspended indefinitely.

In water polo , the women of the Orizzonte Geymonat Catania club are very successful with 14 Italian championships and 6 national championship cups. Italian championship titles were also achieved by the men in volleyball through Paoletti Catania , in hockey through Cus Catania Catania and the women in volleyball through Torre Tabita Catania , in football through Jolly Componibili Catania .

The rugby union team Amatori Catania is represented in the highest Italian league Super 10 .

Catania was the destination of a stage of the Giro d'Italia three times : 1989 (1st stage), 1999 (2nd stage), 2003 (5th stage).

Town twinning


Famous personalities of the city are included in the list of personalities of the city of Catania .


  • On Sicily's Cyclops Coast. From Taormina to Catania. Documentation, 45 min. A film by Brigitte Ashoff, production: SR , broadcast: June 6, 2007, summary ( memento of October 1, 2007 in the web archive ) of the hr


  • Ilaria Di Pietra: Catania. Viaggi e viaggiatori nella città del vulcano , Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania 2007.
  • Antonino Recupero: Catania. Città del mediterraneo , (Fotografia di Alfio Garozzo. Prefazione di Andrea Camilleri), Giuseppe Maimone Editore, Catania 2007, ISBN 978-88-7751-273-4 .

Web links

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Individual evidence

  1. Statistiche demografiche ISTAT. Monthly population statistics from the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of December 31, 2019.
  2. ^ Official website of the Comune di Catania ( Memento of January 17th, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
  3. Climate diagram of Catania
  4. ^ World Weather Information Service. Retrieved July 16, 2019 .
  5. ^ Thucydides , Peloponnesian War 6, 3, 3; Strabon , Geographika 6, 268.
  6. Aristotle , Politics 2, 12, p. 1274 a.
  7. Suda , see Stesichoros ; Himerios , Orationes 22, 5; Diogenes Laertios , De clarorum philosophorum vitis 9, 18.
  8. Diodor , Bibliothéke historiké 11, 49, 1 f. And 11, 66, 4; Strabon, Geographika 6, 268.
  9. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 11, 76, 3; Strabon, Geographika 6, 278.
  10. ^ Thucydides, Peloponnesian War 3, 116, 1.
  11. ^ Thucydides, Peloponnesian War 6, 50, 3 ff .; Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 13, 4, 2 ff.
  12. Thucydides, Peloponnesian War 6, 85, 4; Pausanias , travels in Greece 7, 16, 5.
  13. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 14, 15, 1 ff.
  14. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 14, 58, 2.
  15. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 14, 59 f.
  16. Plutarch , Dion 58, 4.
  17. Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 16, 69, 4; Plutarch, Timoleon 13 and 18; Cornelius Nepos , Timoleon 2.
  18. Plutarch, Timoleon 30 f. And 34.
  19. ^ Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 19, 110, 3.
  20. ^ Diodor, Bibliothéke historiké 22, 8, 3.
  21. Eutropius , Breviarium ab urbe condita 2, 19.
  22. Varro in Pliny , Naturalis historia 7, 214; Censorinus , De die natali 23, 7.
  23. ^ Cicero , In Verrem 3, 103.
  24. Plutarch, Marcellus 30.
  25. ^ Strabon, Geographika 6, 272.
  26. ^ Orosius , Historiae adversus paganos 5, 13, 3.
  27. Cicero, In Verrem 3, 103; 4, 50; 4, 99-102.
  28. Strabon, Geographika 6, 268 and 272; Pliny, Naturalis historia 3, 89.
  29. Ibn al-Athir: Annales du Maghreb et de l'Espagne (Algiers. Adolphe Jourdan, 1898), p. 192f.
  31. La Storia
  32. Bundeswehr administrative offices abroad at