The Greek Chalcidians founded Katane
in 729 BC. During their rule the city expanded northward to Messina.
Taken by Syracusans, who changed its name to Aitna, Catania lost
its political autonomy.
The Romans, come in 263 BC, left
indelible traces of their civilization. Ruins of an amphitheatre
and of a thermal complex of the Augustan Age have partly survived
ravages of humans and nature.
The Arabians and then the Normans
occupied the city. The latter’s domination brought about a
urban renewal. Many new buildings were erected, among which were
the Cathedral and several monasteries that owned most of the day’s
large estates. Under Spanish Aragoneses, Catania entered a period
of prosperity. It become the seat of the Court, hence a major cultural,
political and economic centre.