Corso Martiri della Libertà
Location > Catania, Sicily, Italy
Surface > 240,000 sqm or 787,401.7 ft
Design > Mario Cucinella Architects, Land Italia
The city proper of Catania has a population of more than 313,000 inhabitants, while its urban and metro areas count 700,000 and 1.1 million people respectively, making it the second largest conglomeration in Sicily.
Catania is the first economic and industrial hub of Sicily. The city is famous for its mainly petrochemical industry, and the extraction of sulphur. In the late-19th century and early-20th century, Catania began to be heavily industrialised, with its several factories and chimneys, often to the extant that it was referred to as Southern Italy's Manchester.
Today, Catania, despite several problems, has one of the most dynamic economies in the whole of Southern Italy. It still has a strong industrial and agricultural sector, and a fast-growing tourist industry, with many international visitors coming to visit the city's main sights and surrounds. It contains the headquarters or important offices of companies such as STMicroelectronics, and also several chemical and pharmaceutical businesses. There have been several new business and services developments to further boost Catania's economy at regional level. The city is also the home Catania Fontanarossa International Airport, Sicily's largest airport and Italy's sixth largest airport by passengers traffic.
Founded in 729 BC as the ancient village of Katane, the city of Catania lies on the Ionian Sea, under the shadow of Etna, Europe's tallest active volcano. In the 17th Century, following a strong earthquake, the entire old part of town was rebuilt in Baroque style, with large, wide open squares and avenues. The most remarkable aspect, however, was the building material used: lava. Catania is essentially an unique city in the world for this. The city was included into an Unesco World Heritage Site "Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto".
The masterplan will redevelop and reinterpret the area around the old quarter of San Berillo as new link between downtown and the waterfront. The intention is to restore an urban area to the city of Catania with new public and private functions.
The project involves the construction of large urban hanging garden acting as liaison between the city and the sea and with the function of mending between the neighboring districts.
Inside, a pedestrian and bicycle axis will emerge, forming a boulevard and new plazas. Facing the boulevard will be a series of low buildings, stepped with garden terraces, intended as shops and restaurants and more urban scale functions as cinema, theater and museum. The place will also include spaces for other buildings such as market and an hotel with an iconic presence, almost a gate to the city from the sea.
Construction work is scheduled to begin in 2018.