Catania

Article

November 27, 2021

Catania (AFI: / kaˈtanja /, Catania in Sicilian) is an Italian town of 293 186 inhabitants, the capital of the metropolitan city of Catania in Sicily. Heart of an urban agglomeration of about 700,000 residents extended to the south-eastern slopes of Mount Etna, it is the center of the most densely populated metropolitan area of ​​Sicily, and of a larger conurbation known as the linear system of eastern Sicily, which has about 1 693 173 inhabitants on an area of ​​2 400 square kilometers. The city is also the economic and infrastructural hub of the South-East Sicily District, established on February 26, 2014 in the presence of the then President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano. Main industrial, logistic and commercial center of Sicily, it is the seat of Vincenzo Bellini Airport. Founded in 729 BC from the Calcidesi of nearby Naxos, the city boasts a thousand-year history characterized by a succession of various cultures whose remains enrich its artistic, architectural and cultural heritage. Under the Aragonese dynasty it was the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily, and since 1434 at the behest of King Alfonso V it is the seat of the oldest university on the island. In the course of its history it has been repeatedly affected by volcanic eruptions (the most impressive, in historical times, is that of 1669) and by earthquakes (the most catastrophic mentioned were those of 1169 and 1693). The baroque of its historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, together with that of seven municipalities in the Val di Noto (Caltagirone, Militello in Val di Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli), in 2002 .

Physical geography

Territory

Catania offers heterogeneous landscapes concentrated in a small area. It rises on the east coast of the island, at the foot of Etna (the highest active volcano in Europe) about halfway between the cities of Messina and Syracuse, overlooking the Ionian Sea with the gulf that takes its name from it. The territory is purely flat in the south and south-east, and mountainous in the north due to the presence of Etna. It also includes a substantial part of the plain of Catania ('a Chiana), one of the largest cultivated areas in Sicily, whose area closest to the sea is the Oasi del Simeto, a natural reserve of about 2,000 hectares, established in 1984. The Simeto Oasis takes its name from the Simeto river which flows south of the city, in the Primosole hamlet. The original nucleus of the city was located on a hill: the hill of Monte Vergine (49 m asl), born from a prehistoric eruption of Etna dated between 15,000 and 3960 ± 60 years from the present, corresponding to today's Piazza Dante Alighieri where the monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena (which has become a university seat) stands, near which flowed a stream, the Amenano, which flowed near Piazza del Duomo, while to the south there was the terrace of Acquicella (15 m asl), separated from the river by a valley, then filled by the lava of the 1669 eruption. on the border with Gravina di Catania, a town in the vast hinterland. The public green is made up of parks located within the city. There are six of a certain size and importance: the Bellini Garden or Villa Bellini, called 'a Villa, is dedicated to the musician Vincenzo Bellini; the Pacini Garden or Villa Pacini, nicknamed Villa 'e varagghi (ie "of the yawns") dedicated to the musician Giovanni Pacini; the Gioeni Park (located north of the Borgo district, at the end of Via Etnea); the Falcone e Borsellino Park (north of Corso Italia), dedicated to the homonymous magistrates killed by the mafia; and the Boschetto della Plaia (in the area between the south of the city and the Vincenzo Bellini airport, the former Municipal Fruit and Vegetable Market and the Plaia district). Among others, for its historical importance

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