Catania. I. A province of Sicily, on the E. coast, bounded N. by Messina, E. by the Ionian sea, S. by Syracuse, and W. by Caltanisetta and Palermo; area, 1,970 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 479,-850. It comprises the four districts of Catania, Acireale, Caltagirone, and Nicosia. "With the exception of the Plana di Catania (plain of Catania), the province is mountainous, and includes in its limits Mt. Etna. The chief rivers are the Giaretta and its affluents. The Piana is very fertile, but only imperfectly cultivated. Near Militello and Scordia there are, however, flourishing plantations of olives and oranges. The slopes of Mt. Etna are covered with rich pastures. The chief articles of export are sulphur, grain (chiefly wheat), wine, oranges, lemons, nuts, oil, kid skins, linseed, sumach, soda, lava, and snow from Etna, which is sent to the ports of Sicily, to southern Italy, and Malta. Manufactures of silk and cotton are leading industries. A colony of Albanians in this province has preserved for more than 400 years the Albanian language and the Greek rite in divine worship. II. A city (anc. Catana or Catina), capital of the province, situated on the E. coast, on the shore of the gulf of Catania, which is an inlet of the Mediterranean, at the foot of Mt. Etna, 30 m.
N. N. W. of Syracuse; pop. in 1872, 84,397. It is the handsomest city in Sicily, with wide and regular streets, and numerous and splendid public buildings. Its vicinity to Etna has introduced the use of lava for various purposes. The streets are paved with it, the finest buildings are made of it, and it is formed also into ornamental chimneypieces, tables, and toys. It has many remains of the ancient Roman city, among which are an amphitheatre, a theatre, and ruins of baths and temples. Its principal public edifices are the cathedral, rebuilt since the earthquake of 1693, the senate house, the university, and a vast Benedictine convent. Since 18G7 it has been the seat of an archbishop, formerly of a bishop. It is one of the three principal ports of Sicily, and is the leading mart for silk; besides the silks retained for the local manufactories, considerable quantities are exported. Cotton manufactures, which were formerly limited to coarse cloths for home consumption, have recently received a great development.
Cotton is also exported to France and England. There are also manufactures of linen, and carvings of amber, lava, marble, and wood. - The city is supposed to have been founded in the latter part of the 8th century B. C. by Greek colonists from the neighboring town of Naxos. It suffered severely during the Syracusan and Roman wars, and in the first Punic war sided with the Carthaginians, but was among the first of the Sicilian cities to submit to the Romans after its close. It has been several times destroyed by earthquakes and eruptions of Etna; as in 121 B. C, A. D. 1109, 1009, and 1693; but it has each time been rebuilt with greater beauty than before. In 1848 and 1849 there were violent popular outbreaks; and on April 0, 1849, the Neapolitans expelled the Sicilians from the city.
Square of the Elephant.