Roman Amphitheater, Catania

Roman Amphitheater, Catania

There is the Coloseum, the Ampithraetre of Capua, and the Verona Arena. They are in the groups of the largest arenas. The amphitheater of Catania, eroded, dismantled and mostly buried is also among that group. The amphitheater of Catania was built around 200 AD. It lies below the slopes of Montevergine Hill on the northern side of town.

Only a piece of it can be seen. It is close to the Stesorico Square. It is a part of the exhibit of the Greek-Roman Archaeological Park of Catania. It was an elliptical arena with radial walls and vaults to support the seats.

A gallery with a facade encircled the exterior. The ellipse of the arena had a large diameter of 268 feet. The small diameter was 164 feet. The outside diameters were 478 feet and 345 feet. The outside circumference was 1,015 feet. A respectable size overall. The materials used in the walls show some degree of recycling.

Seating capacity was about 15,000. More could have been accommodated by adding standing room only bleachers of wood. The theatre was able to stage sea battles, making use of the city's aqueduct. An iron gate is presently used for access. Two ionic columns flank the gate and support an architrave with the inscription, "Ampitheatrum Insigne".

Legend has it that the theatre was spared burial by lava in the eruption of Mount Etna in 251. It was in that year Saint Agatha died. Her spiritual intervention might have saved many. However, the lava stopped before reaching Catania. There is no evidence she favored sports arenas, but then she did favor Catania.

In 1693 the arena was buried by the earthquake of that year. Giovanni Gioeni used rubble to build homes and a neo-classical facade for the Church of San Biagio. The ground that buried the amphitheater was used as a garden. The amphitheater of Catania had just disappeared. It reappeared in excavations of the 1700s.

Only a tenth of the amphitheater is visible today.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Catania. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Roman Amphitheater on Map

Sight Name: Roman Amphitheater
Sight Location: Catania, Italy (See walking tours in Catania)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Catania, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Catania

Create Your Own Walk in Catania

Creating your own self-guided walk in Catania is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Catania Introduction Walking Tour

Catania Introduction Walking Tour

The old Sicilian word "katane" is often translated as "harsh ground" or "sharp stones." Black lava from Mount Etna has swamped the area many times. Other disasters include earthquakes, invasions and wars.

The original village of Katane was occupied by Greek settlers in the eighth century BC. During the first Punic War, Catania became a Roman city. The Vandals...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Historical Churches Walking Tour

Historical Churches Walking Tour

Just as many other Italian destinations, the Sicilian city of Catania is full of churches, especially in the historic center, where the presence of religious sites is particularly high! A good number of local churches date back centuries, and as such represent marvelous pieces of architecture, adding much character to the area. It is also commonplace to find inside most of them, be it a duomo,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles