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From Unasked to Unforgettable: The FAQs behind the Catania Independent Symbol.

2023-06-12 10:30

BOB Liuzzo

Experimental Projects, bob liuzzo, catania, cataniaproject, logo design,

From Unasked to Unforgettable: The FAQs behind the Catania Independent Symbol.

It’s not a logo to attract tourist but a way to communicate the essence of a place in the most simple way possible.

If you are unfamiliar with the Independent Symbol of Catania (Sicily), I encourage you to explore the project here.


The Independent Symbol of Catania is a remarkable creation, resembling a time machine, that was developed by individuals rather than being commissioned by a specific entity. It received the prestigious Worldwide Logo Design Award (WOLDA). After nearly 3,000 years since its establishment, Catania now possesses a symbol that is as timeless as the city itself. The Catania Project, an independent initiative focused on city branding, captures the true essence of one of Italy's largest metropolitan areas


This visual system is built upon simple lines and colors, and when deciphered correctly, it represents the authentic soul of the city. Catania is renowned for being one of Italy and Europe's most significant, modern, and vibrant urban centers. 


A quick glance at the symbol reveals the disappearance of its geometric elements, unveiling representations of Etna, Europe's highest volcano (depicted in black), the lava from volcanic eruptions (depicted in red), the sea stretching towards the horizon (depicted in blue), and a white sky symbolizing the city's aspiration to create a bright future


The Independent Symbol is not merely a logo, nor was it commissioned or financially supported by any institution. Instead, it was developed by the people residing in the city. Nevertheless, its importance as a universal element for city branding cannot be understated. This visual system embraces everything and everyone, and it does not rely on a singular shape or framework.


Who is behind the Independent Symbol of Catania?

The Independent Symbol of Catania (a.k.a Catania Project) was designed by Bob Liuzzo when he moved from Catania to New York 12 years ago. The project to promote the symbol is made possible by a loose network of dozens of people, artists and local organizations who lend their time and resources to the effort. Liuzzo still serves as the project lead and coordinator but he hope to become “unecessary” soon.

When was Catania Symbol created?

Liuzzo start to think to how to represent the City of Catania in the most simple way back in 2008. The first draft of the symbol was created in 2009 when Liuzzo was getting his graphic design degree at IED Milan. The design did not become public until December 2019 when he made the first mural painting in Catania. A majority of participating people and organizations joined the project in the last year.

Why is not a logo but a symbol?

The Catania Project is not a logo or a brand in the commercial common way of referr to it. It’s not a logo to attract tourist but a way to communicate the essence of a place in the most simple way possible. The symbol is created by a system of lines and colors that create the gemotrical illusion of the Etna Volcano during an erup- tion with the sea behind. The symbol is not restricted to a single shape or frame. It is free and flexible and can fit any object.

Is this a commercial venture?

No, The Independent Symbol of Cataina is entirely noncommercial. The design is in the public domain and may be reproduced or altered. Any proceeds from the sales of the Symbol products are the property of the various vendors.

Why is called INDEPENDENT? Is not approved by the city?

No, The symbol is not approved by the city political administration, but it is not intended to be “authorized” by politicians. This symbol is democratic, it means that belong to people and not to administration. It was not requested by someone but this does not mean there was no need to have it. Someone called it “City Branding” but we prefer the definition “City Visual Essence” because it’s what this symbol aims to be.

What about Catania’s other symbols?

Catania is an old city so it means that it is full of symbols that could identify it. From the abstract color of the city and soccer team flags, red and blue stripes to religious events like the Saint Agata Celebration, one of the most famous folkroristic event in Europe passing to Barouqe architecture and famous food. The main symbol of the city is called “Liotro” and it’s a statue of an elphant made with volcanic stone placed in front of the city hall. Everyone is in love with this monument that gave to the city the nickname of “the city of the elephant”. This symbol could be perfect to identify the city but not the entire metropolitan area of Catania. The elephant power in con- fined to the city center and will be not suitable to identify a new city quickly expanding. The main connection of everyone living and visiting Catania is reppresented by the Etna Volcano, the highest in Europe. A presence visible from everywhere and surrounded by the blue mediterranean sea. So important that resident call it “Mom Etna” and associate her with “Spiritual Meanings”. @ All Right Reserved 2023