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Porta Garibaldi in Catania

A symbol of rebirth

Catania is a beautiful city, loved not only by its inhabitants but also by the millions of tourists who come to visit it every year. Today we can admire monuments unique in the world, but some of them have undergone transformations or even been destroyed. We know that Catania has been destroyed several times even by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but it has never surrendered and every time the Sicilian city has managed to rise and return brighter than before!

“Melior de cinere surgo”

No monument represents better than Porta Garibaldi Catania’s desire and ability to rise after a catastrophe, as underlined by the sentence under the arch “Melior de cinere surgo“, “I can born again from the ashes even more beautiful”. Several times, in fact, Catania has been destroyed and as many times has been reborn, even more beautiful, even more fascinating!

Porta Garibaldi and the phoenix
The phoenix on Porta Garibaldi

Today, the word “Fortino”, or better still “U Futtinu” refers to Porta Garibaldi and the surrounding area. But we know that the real fort was the one wanted by the viceroy Claudio Lamoraldo, prince of Ligne. It was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Etna in 1669 and today only a door remains in Via Sacchero, near Piazza Palestro and Porta Garibaldi.

The door of the old fort of Catania
The old fort in Via Sacchero

“U Futtinu” in Piazza Palestro was built in 1768 in honour of Ferdinand IV and Maria Carolina of Hapsburg-Lorraine: from here the original name of Porta Ferdinandea, which was later renamed in 1862 in Porta Garibaldi in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
At the top of the gate there is a very large clock, in whose place there was originally a medallion with the portraits of the two kings. In the centre is the phoenix, still a symbol of rebirth dear to the people of Catania.

The magnificence of this monument is also underlined by the alternation of black and white of the stones used for its construction: the white of the stone of Syracuse and the black of the lava stone of Etna. A particular visual effect that can already be seen from Piazza Duomo: by turning your back on the cathedral, at the beginning of Via Garibaldi, you can admire the arch of this door without any difficulty. On the contrary, once you reach Piazza Palestro and placed under the arch you can admire all of Via Garibaldi and the cathedral of Sant’Agata at the end. Scene certainly made more impressive by the lights on during the evening hours.

Piazza Palestro and Porta Garibaldi
Piazza Palestro

It is not difficult to reach Piazza Palestro, just walk along Via Garibaldi starting from the cathedral and you’re done! But it certainly becomes a more complete experience if you are accompanied by an experienced person who knows the territory; what better opportunity to participate in a cultural tour and learn about anecdotes and details little known? Contact our partner Sicily Day By Day and book your tour to discover Catania!