Catania is the second largest city in Sicily after Palermo. It is a large, bustling fishing port on the east coast of the island. It is located about 20 kilometres south of Mount Etna on the Ionian Sea.
Catania was founded as a Greek colony in the 8th century BC. Over the years (and in keeping with Sicily’s turbulent history) it has fallen into the hands of many different groups and nations. Various Greek despots and generals, the Arabs, the Romans, the Goths and the Spanish have all controlled Catania at some point.
Being in close proximity to an active volcano has left Catania in a vulnerable position over years. The city has been destroyed many times by earthquakes or eruptions from Mount Etna. In 1669 the surrounding area was destroyed by an eruption but the city was saved by its stout surrounding walls. Unfortunately, the city was then destroyed in 1693 by an earthquake. It was then rebuilt in the baroque style we can see today.