6 days in Sicily-09/24 - 09/29/2017

Day 4-Roman Theater (Teatro Romano), Catania-09/27/2017

Breakfast Roman Theater/Catania Food market/Apollo Temple Duomo Square Archaeological Park Greek & Roman Theater

If you walk west from Piazza Duomo and to Via Emanuele, look carefully for the entrance to the Roman theatre.  It’s easily missed with no view of the theatre from the street. 

The Theater is located between via Teatro Greco and Via Vittorio Emanuele


We arrived a few minutes before the opening of the museum so we just stand around a bit a took a few pictures.

Built in the 1st century A.D. on the existing Greek theatre, it obtained its final structure in the 2nd century A.D.  Its decline occurred between the 6th and the 7th century and even since the middle ages it was covered with houses that prevented the view of the amphitheater for centuries.


As usual Chinese tourists are every where these days...

The Greek theatre was once located on the southern slope of the former Acropolis and was rebuilt by the Romans into a Roman theatre with a connected smaller Odeon. 

Broken columns are on display right at the entrance.


Covered walkways, corridors, some small stairways and parts of the Cavea (audience seating) and orchestra pit, the latter being paved in marble remains from the ancient theatre.


The tunnels of the cavea as you can see here, are virtually intact.


A walk through the ghostly underground tunnels. These have stood here since approximately 500 B.C. 



The amphitheater is located below street level so you have go down to access it.

 The amphitheater was probably built in the 2nd century during the Roman Empire.

The amphitheater is structurally more complex than Sicilian amphitheaters, as it is built with lava stone covered in marble; it could host up to 15,000 spectators between sitting and standing. The arena used to be transformed into a large pool for naval battles.


 The Theater is surrounded by stunning 17th-century apartments, some now housing delightful cafés and small restaurants.

The seats are in limestone, the lower rows of the second and third wedge were made with marble.
The auditorium is made of limestone blocks and surrounded by three lava stone ambulatory.

The circumference of the arena is 192 meters and it is estimated that it could hold 15,000 seated spectators that can witness flights between gladiators and the wild animals.

Today you can see only a portion of the structure.


This is the center stage for performances.

The amphitheater experience its splendor only in Roman times and underwent the destruction of part of the structure.   In the 11th Century it was used by Roger the Norman as a stone quarry for the construction of Catania cathedral.


The earthquake house. 

Originally owned by the Rosa Family which at the time of its acquisition in 1998 was completely ruined after an earthquake. After demolition the unsafe parts they found out that the northern 18th century front of the house together with the 19th century building, had been built on the outside wall of the Theater. 


Stairway leading to a barrel-vaulted gallery.


The theatre was faced with cut stones and marbles, but its walls were made up of a mixture of mortar and small stones. The Romans used lavic stones which were lighter than other rocks and less prone to cracking therefore no significant damage was affected by a bunch of earthquakes which struck the town and in particular those of 365, 1169 and 1693.





Exploring the gallery, fragments of vaults and trimmed arches.

From the tunnel we are getting to the main floor, still below street level.

Houses/apartments built on existing wall of the theater.

underground cave/tunnel might be dangerous as it is blocked out.


Exploring the surrounding....


Looking at Catania through an opening wall

Because of the different volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, in time the ground level has dropped and now the lower part of the building, especially the orchestra area, is washed by the Amenano’s river that flows underground to the city, this is the cause which prevent the use of theatre for contemporary representations.


A smaller theater, the Odeon, is accessible near the back side of the Roman theater.

The Odeon was built during the second century AD in Roman times, presumably it had the function of hosting concerts and dances. Its shape is semicircular and is placed higher than the theater. Built of brick and lava stone the Odeon has an impressive and colorful structure as well.



On the left of the theThis is the view of the Odeon from the street.


Exterior view of the Odeon.


Next...Day 4-Lunch/Open Market/Temple of Apollo




Our house


Photo Gallery

 Mon  petit coin