Amphitheatre of Catania

Catania, Italy

Amphitheatre of Catania

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The Amphitheatre of Catania is a Roman amphitheatre in Catania, Sicily, southern Italy, built in the Roman Imperial period, probably in the 2nd century AD, on the northern edge of the ancient city at the base of the Montevergine hill. Only a small section of the structure is now visible, below ground level, to the north of Piazza Stesicoro. This area is now the historic centre of the city, but was then on the outskirts of the ancient town and also occupied by the necropolis of Catania. The structure is part of the Parco archeologico greco-romano di Catania.

The amphitheatre of Catania is the most complicated and largest of all the amphitheatres in Sicily. It is one of a group of large arenas, which also includes the Colosseum, the Amphitheatre of Capua, and the Verona Arena. The structure centred on an elliptical arena, surrounded by radial walls and vaults supporting the seating of the cavea, which had 14 steps and 32 aisles. A gallery ran around the outside of the structure, on which the external facade is mounted. The arena had a maximum diameter of 70 metres and a minor diameter of around 50 metres, with a circumference of 192 metres. The external diameter was 125 x 105 metres, while the external circumference was 309 metres. Opus vittatum was used for the construction of the interior and opus quadratum for the exterior. The remains of the pilasters are in opus quadratum with small blocks of igneous rock. The cavea was made of basalt from Mount Etna, faced with marble. The external walls indicate a degree of carelessness in construction. The blocks are cut irregularly and seem to mostly have been recycled. The external arches are made with large rectangular bricks of regular shape and good quality mortar, while the internal ones are made of concrete, with large radial plates.

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