Luogo - Monument

Fontana dell'Elefante

Where Piazza Duomo, 1, Catania

The Elephant Fountain is a monumental work made between 1735 and 1737 by the architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. It is located in the central Duomo Square and its main element is a black basalt statue depicting an elephant, commonly called 'u Liotru and considered the emblem of the city. It owes its name to the distortion of the name Heliodorus, noble of Catania who had tried unsuccessfully to become a bishop. The link between Catania and 'u Liotru is very old: ancient legend tells of an elephant that would drive the wild animals during the foundation of the city; under the Arab rule, the city was known by the name of Medinat el-fil (City of the Elephant); It became the official symbol only in 1239. The frame is made from a pedestal of white marble in the center of a basin, where falling water jets. On the stand two sculptures reproduce the rivers Simeto and Amenano, above the statue of the elephant, with its trunk turned towards the St. Agatha's Cathedral. On the back of the animal is placed an Egyptianising obelisk of 3.66 meters tall, in granite of Syene.

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