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July 24, 2008


The site of Paternò was occupied before 3500 BCE, when in the prehistoric vulcanetto that overhangs the town the first livings installed themselves. The inhabitants of the region were Sicani, although it lies in predominantly Siculi territories, and since its founding, the settlement was called Inessa. Shortly thereafter, citizens of Catania, in this era called Aitna, called the ancient Paternò Inessa-Aitna. Hence the name Paternò that perhaps derives from Paeter Aitanon, that is to say the "Fortress of the Etnei". In the vicinity of Paternò, however, it is very likely that two towns existed, in fact there is not only Inessa-Aitna, but many authors indicate also the presence of Hybla Mayor or Galeatis, that rose in the district northwest of the present town.
A town of middle importance during the Greek period, under the Romans it was severely depopulated after 300 BCE. In the period of the Saracen domination the village was called Batarnù. Later on, the Norman conquest, begun in the 1040s, the town was renamed Paternionis, and thus began an economic and civic Golden Age, due to its importance to the Norman Aristocracy. The territories of Paternò, in fact, were so valuable, that they constituted a wedding gift from Frederick III of Aragon to Eleanor of Anjou . Paternò's period of splendor lasted until the 15th century, when the town was removed from the Queen's ownership and began a slow, but irreversible, decline.
Of the Medieval Period they are present still interesting depositions among which the magnificent castles, like to the French and Scottish castles fortified in the same period. Characteristic also are the cloister of San Francesco and La Chiesa della Gancia e tutto il borgo(the Church of the Hook and All of the Town). Physical reminders of the Norman period remain in Nordic features among segments of the populace.
One of the main problems of the city historically was malaria, caused by the marshlands of the Plain of Catania. This has since long been remedied, and the urban development of the town had a large acceleration in the 1960s and 1970s.