Catania (2)

We decided to spend our last day back in Catania.   Not that there was a lot more to see, but to check that it wasn’t a mirage.

We started at the Porta Garibaldi which is just visible in the distance from the Duomo.   Built in 1768 to commemorate the wdding of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies to Maria Carolina of Habsburg-Lorraine, it was designed in full neo-classical glory by Stefano Ittar and Francesco Battaglia:-

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Catania

We went to Catania in order to go to the railway station.   None of the guidebooks had prepared us for how astonishing the historic centre is – grand, extensive, blackened with age and the use of lava stone, full of dilapidated churches, long axial streets and well preserved squares (the Cadogan Guide describes it as ‘a blackening lava-paved inferno of trash, crime and despair’).   The presiding genius is not Gaglieri, but Giovan Battista Vaccarini, who was born in Palermo, trained in Rome under Carlo Fontana and settled in Catania in 1730 where he was responsible for much of the best architecture and town planning.

We began and ended at the Cathedral by Vaccarini:-

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