The Elephant Fountain is a well known cultural attraction in Catania and it is considered the icon of the city.
Standing on the centre of Piazza del Duomo, the Elephant Fountain (Fontana dell’Elefante) is considered the symbol of Catania, an important icon for locals who love and take care of it.
Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, inspired by the Bernini’s Minerva Elephant placed in Rome, created this amazing fountain in 1736. At the base of the fountain there are two sculptures that represent the main rivers of Catania, the Simeto and Amenano, and above these you have the elephant with an Egyptian obelisk on its back.
U Liotru, the elephant dates back to the Roman period and has been made of lava and black basalt; its name comes from local legends that tell the story of Eliodor, a Byzantine magician who rode an elephant into the town. When the elephant was made it was named after the magician, which through time became Liotru. For this reason people of Catania have considered the fountain to be a magical statue, able to protect the town from the eruptions of Etna.