The Post Office building is the work of Francesco Fichera who realized the plan in 1919 and started construction in 1922.
from the technical report by architect Francesco Fichera, Catania, 1919:
“The building that the undersigned has had the hour to plan is not only, in vastness, structure, plane geometry, fully appropriate to its destination, so as to ensure a perfect modernity of systems and a rational distribution of services, but rising where Catania mostly displays its beauty, offering its front to the via Etnea rising from sea to mount, solemn and magnificent, and its flank to the Villa Bellini, green gem bedecked with the jewels of all tropical splendours and charms, it is yet worthy of such privileged position and by its harmonious mass adds imposingness and decorum to aesthetic of the whole”.
A Roman and Christian necropolis under the Palace
In 1924, during the digging of the foundations, in the area between the south side of the Villa Bellini, the via St, Euplio and via Etnea, findings were made: and edifice from the Roman Imperial Age made in lava stone blocks; a necropolis mostly made up of sepulchres in brickwork covered by brick slabs; a cistern and a rectangular room to the side of the Imperial Age edifice.
The very few objects that were found, some small vases, a few oil lamps and a marble slab with a Christian inscription, bear witness to the poverty of this cemetery. The discovery of this cemetery led to the acquisition of interesting elements on the extent of Roman Catania, and also contributed to the knowledge of the Christian necropolis bordering the Northern part of the town.
A complex and rational ‘machine’
The Post Office building occupies an area of 1,600 square meters, entrance is through four grand gates; ground floor is reserved for the general public and the sorting office.
The upper floors are for offices and management direction.
The materials employed are varied: limestone, bricks, concrete and lava the ‘machine’ of the façade is very complex and is surmounted by a rich cornice. On the first order rustic stones stand out, roughly carved, conveying a feeling of almost wild strength; higher up tension diminished and more classical elements appear (pediments, capitals), fluctuating among the light waves of the outer walls and the balconies. Severe gargoyles poke out of the key-stones, recalling atmospheres of the nineteenth century Catania.
Of particular interest is the distribution of the interior rooms where Fichera chose an unusual solution: rather than having the public spaces towards the centre, he disposed them on a wide peripheral band.
Proceeding to the centre one finds the counters and the sorting offices opening onto a yard where the post vans arrive.
Inside a niche visible also from the outside stands a very beautiful copy of the Apollo del Belvedere, famous masterpiece of Hellenistic art.
G. Libertini, Scritti su Catania Antica, a C. di G. Rizza, Catania 1981.
AA.VV., Enciclopedia di Catania, Catania 1987.
Guida di Catania e provincia, a c. di N. Recupero, Catania 1991.