University Square in Catania
Piazza Università is one of the most prestigious squares in Catania. Due to its elegance and sobriety it can be considered a real elegant living room, it is the witness and protagonist of much of the life and history of Catania.
The pavement of the square is typically covered in lava stone and the emblem of the city is placed in relief in the center.<br>The artistic bronze candelabra at the four corners of the square enriched and illuminated the prestigious complex of Piazza Università, made at the beginning of the twentieth century by the master Mimì Maria Lazzaro and the sculptor Domenico Tudisco, depicting four Catania legends: on the base of the candelabrum located to the north-east is remembered the heroism of the pious brothers, Anfinomo and Anapia; in the southwestern candlestick the sacrifice of the beautiful and virtuous Gammazita is highlighted; the hero of the candlestick placed in the south-east is the legendary Colapesce, and finally on the candlestick of the north-west the fourth myth, the Paladin Uzeta.
The square overlooks the marvelous palaces, built before the 18th century, but renovated following the earthquake of 1693 by architects of the caliber of Giovanni Battista Vaccarini and Francesco and Antonino Battaglia, giving the city a clear Baroque imprint.
On the northwest side of the square is the Siculorum Gymnasium Palace, known as the University Palace as it was the seat of the first Sicilian university, founded in 1434 by King Alfonso of Aragon, called "the Magnanimous", who started the history of The oldest university in Sicily, today the seat of the Rectorate of the University of Catania, which houses numerous classrooms where university lectures are held; it is also home to the precious regional library, one of the richest in Sicily.
To the north-east is the noble Palazzo Gioeni d'Angiò and to the east the Palazzo di San Giuliano, now also owned by the university, defined as the "small palace" of Catania for having given hospitality, in its sumptuous rooms, to many famous people such as emperors, sovereigns, princes and even a tsarina of Russia; to the south-west, on the other hand, the back of the Town Hall faces and to the south-east a building whose name is unknown to this day.