Paternò (Sicilian: Patennò) is a southern Italian town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Catania, Sicily. With a population (2016) of 48,009, it is the third municipality of the province after Catania and Acireale.
|Città di Paternò|
Paternò within the Province of Catania
Location of Paternò in Italy
|Metropolitan city||Catania (CT)|
|• Mayor||Nino Naso|
|• Total||144.04 km2 (55.61 sq mi)|
|Elevation||225 m (738 ft)|
|Population (30 November 2016)|
|• Density||330/km2 (860/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||Santa Barbara and San Vincenzo Martyr|
|Saint day||December 4|
The site of Paternò was settled before 3500 BCE. Its inhabitants were probably the Sicani, although it was located in mainly Sicel territory; its initial name was Inessa. The modern name derives form the Greek Paeter Aitnaion, meaning the "Fortress of the Etnaeans". The presence of another town, called Hybla Mayor or Galeatis, is attested north west to the current town.
A centre of medium importance in the Greek and Roman eras, it was largely depopulated in the three centuries before 1000 AD; during the subsequent Arab domination of Sicily, it was known as Batarnù. After the Norman conquest in the 1040s, it was renamed Paternionis and began a period of flourishing. It was here that King Frederick III of Sicily created the Camera Reginale ("Queen's Chamber") as a wedding gift for his wife Eleanor of Anjou, and this was inherited by the subsequent Queens of Sicily. This period of splendour for Paternò lasted until the 15th century, when it became a fief and in consequence slowly lost importance.
Historically, the area around Paternò was plagued by malaria, caused by the marshlands of the Plain of Catania. This has since long been remedied, and the urban development of the town enjoyed a large acceleration in the 1960s and 1970s.
Paternò borders with the municipalities of Belpasso, Biancavilla, Catenanuova (EN), Centuripe (EN), Ragalna, Ramacca and Santa Maria di Licodia. Its only hamlet (frazione) is the village of Sferro.
Within Paterno there is a geologic feature named 'Salinelle', a place where small mud volcanoes emerge from cracks in the ground. This area in which the Salinelle surfaces includes an archeological site currently uncovering evidence of Roman baths previously built on and thought to have used the Salinelle mud.
The tran station was originally used mostly for food transportation, and is not out of service. The main passenger station is part of the narrow gauge Ferrovia Circumetnea. The latter also provides a regular bus service to destination on the Catania-Adrano line.