Catania is the second largest city of Sicily and is the capital of the province which bears its name. With 306,000 inhabitants it has the second highest population density on the island.
It is located at 37° 31'N 15° 04'E on the east coast of the island, half way between Messina and Siracusa and is at the foot of the active volcano Mount Etna.
It was founded in the 8th century BC by Greek colonizers from Chalcis in Euboea led by Euarchos. Initially called Ętna, after the volcano, the city was later known as Katane (see also List of traditional Greek place names). It was extensively destroyed by earthquakes in 1169 and 1693 and by lava flows which ran over and around it into the sea.
The first Sicilian university was founded there in 1434.
The city's patronal saint is Saint Agata.
The city has been buried by lava a total of seven times in recorded history, and in layers under the present day city are the Roman city that preceded it, and the Greek city before that. Today, the tops of the immense Greek and Roman amphitheatres are at street level and in several places the adventurous can descend into the numerous and uncharted tunnels under the city, although the perils of finding pockets of poisonous gas or being found down there by nasty people make this highly unadvisable.
Under the city runs the river Amenano, visible in just one point, on the south side of Piazza Duomo


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