Plans for a "grand" theater in Catania (about two and a half hours from Palermo on the western side of the island), had been in the works since the great earthquake of 1693 that destroyed the region. The endeavor was not realized, however, until the end of the 19th century when famous architect Carlo Sada was commissioned to the project. Named after renowned, locally born opera composer Vincenzo Bellini, the theater was inaugurated in 1890 with his masterwork, Norma. The exterior of the building is a remarkable example of Sicilian Baroque style, and the interior is equally extravagant with a marble statue to the maestro himself in the grand entryway.
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