Catania grew on the west coast of the island, below the vulcan Etna, half-way from Messina to Siracusa. Its terriitory includes a vast portion of the Piana di Catania. It is located next to the Ionian sea, near the namesake gulf. It's the second largest city in Sicily and it's an important industrial center, in particular in the citrus cultivation. It was founded by Calcideses of Nessus in VIII century (its original name was Katane), later conquered by Gerone of Siracusa (and named Aitna) then became a city of the Roman Empire (Catana).
In VI century it became an episcopal seat, then conquered by ostrogoths, byzantines and arabs. In 1071 it fell under norman hands and later it was under swabian control. The Aragoneses made it the seat of their court and it was granted some privileges like being the first sicilian city with a campus (1434). At the end of XVII century it was extremely damaged by an outbreak of the Etna, then completely destroyed by a tremendous earthquake. It was entirely rebuilt in XVIII century.
For archeology enthusiasts the best places to visit are: