At the end of the 19th century, the city underwent a cultural and social rebirth with the unification of Italy. Art, literature, and music flourished in Catania with the writer, Giovanni Verga, the artist Sciuti, and the composer Vincenzo Bellini, attaining worldwide recognition.
The magnificent Opera House and theater in Catania was named after Bellini, and each year the city holds the Bellini music festival. The theater, renowned for its excellent acoustics, is one of the most prestigious theaters in Italy and both its operatic and symphonic seasons are internationally recognized.
One important element which has survived since the Roman domination is the devotion to Saint Agatha, patron saint of the city who lived during the period of Christian persecution.
Since her martyrdom in 251 AD, the people of Catania have maintained their affection towards the Saint whose feast is celebrated annually in the first week of February. The celebrations represent the largest religious and folkloristic event in Europe and attracts interested participants from all over the world.