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Online travel guide Catania

Piazza del Duomo


Piazza del Duomo

Cathedral Square with the symbol of Catania

The traffic-calm Piazza del Duomo is the centre of the city of Catania. The successful baroque composition of the square and the surrounding buildings was designed by the city architect of Catania, Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. Porta Uzeda (1696), the cathedral (1739), Church of Sant'Agata (1767), Elephant Fountain (1736) and the Palazzo del Municipio (1741) are all creations of Vaccarini and make for an exceptionally beautiful picture at night.

The centre of the Piazza del Duomo and at the same time the symbol of Catania is Vaccarini’s elephant fountain, the Fontana dell’Elefante. The black lava elephant, also called "Liotru" or "Diotru" by the locals, dates back to Roman times and carries an Egyptian obelisk on its back. Originally placed separately in Catania, Vaccarini brought the two elements together after the earthquake 1693, turning them into the current symbol of Catania. According to legend, the elephant is a reminder of the magician Eliodoro (Diodoro), who was living in Catania and who turned his own mount, the elephant, into lava.

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