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Trekking Urbano – Exploring the City of Catania

November 6, 2014


On November 1st, 2014, I joined a group of local residents of Catania in a day of exploring the city under the program “Trekking Urbano” which was carried out in several cities around Italy.  The purpose of the activity was for the local residents to take the time to visit some areas of the city and learn about its history with regards to architecture, politics and culture to name a few.  I had attended the first Urban Trekking that took place a few years ago in Catania and it is described in another post in this blog.

This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the Great War.  Each city participating in the Urban Trekking program this year in Italy, on this specific weekend, had a theme connected to the general era of the early 1900’s.  For Catania, the theme was “CATANIA La Belle Epoque.”  The focus of the excursion around the city was to visit some locations that offered testimonials of the time when this city enjoyed a period of splendor.  Specifically, during the first decade of the 1900’s Catania was a city that offered an array of activities as a number of theaters, cinemas, trendy coffee shops, elegant buildings built in the Liberty style.  All of this was taking place in the beginning of the 20th century, just a short time before  this atmosphere would be interrupted by the start of the Great War.

Etna ‘ngeniuosa, a cultural association, was running this specific program on that day.  I have taken day trips with the guides of this association in the past, mostly with Matilde and Aristide who founded it years ago.  Now, for the first time, I realized how the association has grown and how many more guides are part of it.  There were three guides on this specific day’s excursion, November 1st, and they were Matilde, Teresa and Oreste.  I have known Matilde for years and always enjoy her outstanding explanations and respect her deep knowledge of local history.


Following are  just few highlights of the city visit; the actual experience was much more in detail and vivid!


Our meeting place was Piazza Universita’.  Here one can see two buildings of the University of Catania quite familiar to me as I attended this specific branch of the University of Catania before moving away many years ago!!




The Sangiorgi Theater was built in 1860.  Its architect, after whom the Theatre was named, came from a humble local family.  Sangiorgi traveled abroad and brought his newly acquired knowledge of architectural styles back to Catania. This building portrays a style that was influenced by Sangiorgi’s visit to Paris.  During the early 1900’s this was one of the great places in the city.  Here there was a hotel, a restaurant, cafe’, the theatre which offered performances that were more in the style of Cafe’ Chantal in Paris than other local theatres.



Negozio Frigeri

I had photographed this building in the past while walking by as it is absolutely gorgeous.



Negozio Frigeri is in the Liberty Style portraying some architectural details that are not usually found in the city.  As our guide pointed out, the band of flowers is usually adorning country villas and not buildings constructed in the city.





As we walked, I took pictures of three “altarini.”  These were not part of the guided tour, but I am always fascinated by them.

These “altarini” usually represent religious figures and people stop for a moment of reflection and some also place fresh flowers in the proximity.







The one church we visited was Chiesa San Nicola in Piazza Dante.  This church has a sundial built into the marble floor and I remember years ago visiting the church while the sundial was being restored.





The picture below shows the inside of the cupola of the church where the hole allows the sun ray to pierce through and hit the sundial.



Our final destination on that day was the Roman Amphitheater in Piazza Stesicoro.  This point used to be in the outskirts of the city as Roman theatres were usually built in that location.  Now it stands in the heart of the city as the busy streets with their traffic wrap around it!


These are just a few of the buildings and history shared on that day !!  Thank You Etna ‘ngeniousa!!!










  1. Renee permalink

    Thanks for sharing!!


  2. You’re welcome, Renee!!


  3. Mary permalink

    Rosanna, where do you get all your energy? When are you coming back to Va? We are in a Texas visiting with Bobby and Anna and kids….so much fun to be with these little ones. Keep in touch. Lm

    Sent from my iPad



    • Hello Mary!!!! It is so good to hear from you. Right now I am locked inside my condo as we have had some incredible storms and even had a tornado touch down close to my place!!! I am well and very happy to hear from you. I know how much you are enjoying your children in Texas. I will be back in Burke Dec. 19 and look forward to sharing some good times together!!! Safe travels and thanks for writing!!!


  4. Hi Rosanna! Beautiful and interesting post! Wow, I didn’t know you have tornados in Italy! We are about to have very cold weather, possibly snow next week! Hope all is well, dear friend!


    • Dear Holly,
      The weather pattern has changed ove the years and unfortunately I am recognizing elements of tropical storms now. Tonight is supposed to be bad weather and things should clear up tomorrow.

      I can’t believe you are about to get snow. I hope this winter will not bring the enormous amount of snow we had last year in VA.
      Stay warm!!!! Sending a hug your way!


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