Baroque architecture flourished on Sicily following the massive earthquake of 1693, when authorities began rebuilding the island. With traditional baroque curves and flourishes, the buildings stand out for their flair and artistry. Here are a few key baroque-style landmarks to look out for in UNESCO World Heritage–listed Catania.
Piazza del Duomo
The three palaces situated around the Piazza del Duomo (Duomo Square) include the Bishop’s Palace and the Seminario—and combined they boast some of the most impressive baroque buildings in Italy. Skilled architect Alonzo di Benedetto worked alongside fellow local architects, and the divisions between their working styles are seamless.
Basilica della Collegiata
The 18th-century Basilica della Collegiata is one of the religious sites reconstructed following the earthquake in 1693. With ornate curvature and intricate facade, it’s widely considered among Catania’s top attractions.
Built in 1741, Catania’s grand town hall takes pride of place on the Piazza del Duomo. The key feature here is the Fountain of the Elephant—intricately carved from Mt. Etna’s black lava in the baroque style.
Teatro Massimo Bellini
The Teatro Massimo Bellini (Massimo Bellini Theater) is an opera house named after local 19th-century composer Vincenzo Bellini. The building was almost 200 years in the making, and the final product features the ornate, stuccoed design for which the distinctive Sicilian baroque style is known.
Dedicated to Saint Agatha, Catania Cathedral has fallen to earthquakes and been rebuilt many times over the centuries. The current construction shows bold baroque design with strong Roman and Spanish influence, and dates back to the rebuilding of Catania following the 1693 earthquake.