The Galileo conference "Fibre Optic sensing in Geosciences" will take place at the Palazzo Platamone in Catania, Italy (see history below).

The Palazzo Platamone is located at Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 95131 Catania CT.

For more information about Palazzo Platamone, visit:

For more information about Catania, visit:

How to reach the venue

By air

There are direct flights from many cities in Europe and from Rome, the capital of Italy, to the International Catania Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) to the airport in Catania ( The city of Catania is a 20 minute drive from the airport and can be reached by taxi, private transfer, rental car or bus, but note that the bus will be the cheapest option and certainly the fastest. In particular, we recommend the Alibus ( which offers a ticket from €4.

By ferry

For a more leisurely way to get to Catania, you can take a fast or slow ferry from many cities across the Mediterranean Sea (France, Italy, Algeria, etc.). You arrive directly at the harbour which is close to the Palazzo Platamone and Catania city center.


There are plenty of hotels in Catania. There is no special arrangement with any of the hotels for the conference and the participants are invited to book independently. Please note that end of June is still high season for Catania so you are strongly advised to book your stay as soon as possible.

A bit of history about the venue

Palazzo Platamone and the Monastery of San Placido

The Platamone palace was located at the marina between the Saraceno port and the Pontone port which represented the two most important landing places in medieval Catania. It belonged to the illustrious and wealthy Platamuni family who distinguished themselves in the commercial field, but also had important exponents who exceled in the political and ecclesiastical environment.

Among them Battista Platamuni, Viceroy of Sicily in 1436 and secretary of King Alfonso the Magnanimous from whom he received the investiture of the Aci fund; Giuseppe, of the Dominican order, who in 1530 gave the official speech in the cathedral of Bologna for the coronation of Emperor Charles V in the presence of Pope Clement VII; Anthony Bishop of Malta; the venerable Sister Agata whose prayers were recommended by King Philip II himself from Madrid.

However, this family's wealth came from the trade of agricultural products, livestock, and fabrics exported from Catania by sea as well as from the activities carried out by some members of the family who practiced the profession of established bankers.

Their palace stood in the area on which the monastery of San Placido was later built, which often hosted the White Queen, wife of King Martin the Younger. To facilitate the commercial traffic of the Platamuni, the same queen of Navarre had allowed the opening of a postern in the walls of the bulwark adjacent to the house of Don Antonio Platamuni. This privilege was later enjoyed by the princes of Biscari.

The Platamone houses are included in the monastery, because already in the 15th century the family had donated them to the religious institution. According to tradition, the residence was built on the ruins of the temple dedicated to Bacchus.

The seismic shocks of 9 and 11 January 1693 destroyed the monastery's factories and only two nuns survived the earthquake. What remained standing was then demolished during the reconstruction of the city. In the post-earthquake period, as had happened for other female monasteries in Catania, the monastery of San Placido was assigned an entire block of the new city. The site was larger than the one before the earthquake and only partially overlapped with the pre-existing area.

The reconstruction work on the monastery lasted over 100 years and thousands of dollars were spent. Some of the protagonists of the city's rebirth participated in this reconstruction: Alonzo Di Benedetto, the architect Giuseppe Palazzotto, Francesco Battaglia and Giovan Battista Vaccarini, while for the new façade of the Church, begun in 1768, the nuns entrusted themselves to the architect Stefano Ittar.

The convent is made up of three elevations, two of which are completed in an exhaustive manner, while the last is almost completely uncovered, consisting of a simple front wall both to relate the height of the monastic building to that of the church and to "defend" the seclusion of nuns.

Inside the courtyard, at the back, you can see the remains of Palazzo Platamone dating back to the 15th century. You can admire a deep archivolt, surmounted by a balcony with a parapet decorated with a chevron motif, that is, with two-tone bands – limestone and lava foam. The archivolt is made up of numerous shelves also in limestone linked together with a series of small pointed arches decorated with various motifs.

In the center is the family coat of arms, where a mountain is depicted surmounted by three shells and in turn surmounted by a lily. This loggia constitutes the only remaining evidence of the late medieval city.