The Complex Cathedral Of Messina, Sicily

The Cathedral of Messina and its renowned astronomical clock/bell tower are the highlight of a visit to this historic city in Sicily’s northeast corner. Having been subject to centuries of conquests, earthquakes, battles, and rebuilding, it’s history is complex. What we see today is the result of post World War II reconstruction. The fascinating clock…

Catania’s Elephant 

Two rivers meet under Catania’s Piazza del Duomo to feed the Fontana dell’Elefante, or the Elephant Fountain. Designed by G.B. Vaccarini in 1736, this focal point of the cathedral’s square possesses an ancient Roman-era statue of an elephant made from black lava stone holding an Egyptian obelisk that boasts hieroglyphics about the goddess Isis, and…

Ortigia Sound System

Going on now through 31 July in Ortigia (Where the Piazza del Duomo pictured is located.) is the 3rd annual Ortigia Sound System, a music, design, and culture festival. Contemporary bands and DJs take to the streets, boats, and pop-up concert venues to push boundaries of modern music and entertainment. Designers host workshops about building…

Blue Sky, Blacktop

Catania’s Piazza del Duomo was one of the city’s grand piazzas built in the early 18th century by architects Giovanni Vaccarini and Stefano Ittar following the devastating Etna eruption of 1669 and earthquake of 1693. Incorporating the black volcanic rock from Etna into the pavement as well as the buildings’ design, the piazza possesses the…