Piazza del Duomo and the mystery of the Elephant Fountain

monument
Piazza del Duomo and the mystery of the Elephant Fountain

Nicknamed the “City of the Elephant” during Arab rule, Catania shelters a fountain in its midst, where an impressive black basalt pachyderm stands.

U liotru, Catania's emblem as it is called in local dialect, watches over the city. It is not known when exactly the 3.61 metres-high massive statue was built, but it bears an Egyptian obelisk on its back, itself mounted with the Saint Agathe symbol. This strange mix is the basis of the unmissable Fontana dell'Elefante, built between 1735 and 1737 by architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini.
The pachyderm's origins remain a mystery, but an old legend tells the story of an elephant hunting wild animals as Katane was being built by the Greek. Under Arab rule, the city was already named Balad el-Fil or Medinat el-Fil, meaning “elephant's territory”. It is also said that the lava animal, dating back to the Roman era, belonged to a wizard and had the power to soothe the Etna. Which story do you believe in?

Fontana dell'Elefante
Piazza del Duomo, 14
95124 Catania

www.comune.catania.it