Porta Garibaldi is one of the places to be in Catania. Local people know it as « u Furtinu », a memento of a real fort they built up near Piazza Palestro, in Via Sacchero.
The triumphal arch stands exactly in the middle of Piazza Palestro, at the very end of Via Garibaldi, and represents the made-in-Catania baroque. You can easily recognize it for its impressive structure and two-colour appearance, made by the black volcanic stone.
Porta Garibaldi is one of archs that were built to defend the city. At the beginning, seven great walls surrounded Catania, but three more were added soon after. Among them, Porta Garibaldi or Ferdinandea. If Catania had been besieged, they would have been the last barrier.
When you look at the top of the arch, you can see a big clock. It has replaced the ancient big medallion with the portraits of Ferdinando I and his wife. The myth tells that local people built the arch up in that exact place to let the couple see the Cathedral of Saint Agata clearly when they crossed it.
Melior de cinere surgo (From my ashes I rise anew) is the inscription under the arch and meaningfully indicates the strong will and essence of Catania. The city had been destroyed by the First Punic War and the eruptions of the Volcano. Nine times local people built it up again even more beautiful.
The arch gathers all the most important symbols of the city : Saint Agata, the elephant of Duomo square and the phoenix, the mythological bird that rises again from its ashes.