Catania is a city of 310,000 people (2019) on the eastern coast of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna, the biggest volcano in Europe. It is the second largest city in Sicily with the metropolitan area reaching one million inhabitants, a major transport hub, economic centre and a university city where you will enjoy a busy downtown and an active nightlife. Catania is also well known for its particular baroque architecture and urban design (the downtown area is a World Heritage Site, along with all the Val di Noto area), consequences of the great earthquake of 1693 after which the city had to be rebuilt, like most of eastern Sicily.
The city has a history dating back 2,700 years, dominated by several different cultures (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, etc.) and was a rich commercial centre, mainly due to its port. Again, since the 1970s, the city economy is growing as the urban area and the suburbs, making Catania a large metropolitan centre, mainly between the volcano and the sea. Today, even if you can find there most of the biggest commercial centers in Europe (especially Etnapolis), the 17th-century downtown area is still the centre of the day-to-day life.
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