Dominated by the highest volcano in Europe, Mount Etna, Catania has a totally unique landscape. Its symbol is an elephant, or rather elephants found sculpted everywhere in the old historical town and are honorary owners of a large building dedicated to them. Why elephants? They symbolse a historic victory of the city over a Barbarian army that sailed across from the opposite (African) Mediterranean shore on a mission to conquer Europe.
Catania is also an important capital of Baroque architecture found throughout the Val di Noto area, which covers seven communes declared world heritage sites by Unesco. Today, Catania can boast the opulence of the ‘Oasis del Simeto’, the magnificence of the Piazza del Duomo, the remains of the Roman amphitheatre and its castles as well as the quaint markets and raw beauty of the kiosks from where the inebriating smell of aniseed radiates. Catania possesses an incomparable historical and artistic heritage, exemplified by monuments such as the Cathedral, the Palazzo degli Elefanti (“Elephants Palace”) the fountain of Armenano, the ‘Castello dell’Ursino’, the house of the writer Giovanni Verga, the ‘Palazzo dei principi Manganelli’, the monument to the musician Bellini, the Roman baths and the Benedictine Monastery.