At the bottom of Mount Etna, overlooking the Ionian Sea, there’s Catania, the second biggest city in Sicily, characterized by its Baroque monuments and buildings entirely made out of lava-stone. These buildings with their blackness give it a unique appearance and highlight the connection between the city and the volcano that created it and still dominates it nowadays.
Due to the closeness to Mount Etna, the soil near Catania is extremely fertile, which made it a coveted territory. According to Plutarch, its name comes from “Katane” that means “grater” and probably refers to the harshness of the land where it’s located.
In the 8th century B.C, Catania already was a Greek colony: it was conquered by the Syracusans first and the Romans after; the city continued to thrive under the Byzantines, the Arabs and the Normans; lastly, Frederick II built the Castello D’Ursino.
Due to its position, Catania was destroyed by seven volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, and it was rebuilt for the last time in the 18th century, when its structure was changed and organized in parallel streets alternated with squares (this structure can still be found today). As a result of these numerous reconstructions, there are no traces of the Greek and Roman version of the city.