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Catania (kätäˈnyä) [key], city (1991 pop. 333,075), capital of Catania prov., E Sicily, Italy, on the Gulf of Catania, an arm of the Ionian Sea, and at the foot of Mt. Etna. It is a busy port and a major commercial, agricultural, and industrial center. Manufactures include chemicals, silk and cotton textiles, processed food, and asphalt. The city also has a fishing industry. Founded (late 8th cent. B.C.) by Chalcidian colonists, Catania was a flourishing Greek town and was later a Roman colony. It was rebuilt after earthquakes in 1169 and 1693 and after a severe volcanic eruption in 1669. In 1862, Garibaldi organized at Catania his expedition to Rome that was stopped at Aspromonte. The city was heavily damaged in World War II. Points of interest include the extensive Bellini Gardens (named for the 19th-century composer, who was born in Catania); the cathedral (originally built in the 11th cent.); and Ursino castle, built (13th cent.) by Emperor Frederick II. The city has a university (founded 1444) and an observatory.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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