Today my husband and I were given the chance to explore more of Catania. We were able to do so much so I am going to write about each part separately.
First we were able to walk through the Cathedral in the center of the square. This particular cathedral has been rebuilt multiple times due to earthquakes and eruptions from Mount Etna located nearby. It was originally built in 1078-1093 over the ancient Roman Achilean Baths. After a series of large earthquakes and fires that damaged the building, it was rebuilt in 1693. It now has a baroque style exterior.
The Roman Catholic cathedral in Catania is dedicated to Saint Agatha. She was a Christian saint who was born in Catania. She was martyred in 251. She dedicated her life to God and the church when she was 15 years old but was persecuted for her faith. She was put in prison and tortured! The torture included cutting off her breasts. Because she would not reject her faith she was sentenced to burning at the stake but she was saved by an earthquake and kept in prison. Miraculously her wounds from torture seemed to heal! She spent most of her life in prison and eventually died there. Now there is a special desert that you can buy in the area that looks like a breast in memory of the saint. She has also become a patron to breast cancer patients.
When you enter the doorway, you are stunned by tall columns. Lining the walls are paintings depicting different biblical events including the crucifixion. A large organ stands in the back of the cathedral. You can hear voices echoing through the hall and the air smells like incense. It was so beautiful, you could spend hours in the building and never see everything.
If you have the time I would ABSOLUTELY recommend visiting this beautiful place!