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Catania (UK: , US: , Sicilian and Italian: [kaˈtaːnja]) is the second largest city of Sicily after Palermo; it is located on the east coast facing the Ionian SeaIt is the capital of the Metropolitan City of Catania, one of the ten biggest cities in Italy, and the seventh largest metropolitan city in ItalyThe population of the city proper is 311,584 while the population of the Metropolitan City of Catania is 1,107,702.Catania was destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes in 1169 and 1693, and by several volcanic eruptions from the neighbouring Mount Etna, the most violent of which was in 1669.Catania was founded in the 8th century BC by ChalcidiansIn 1434, the first university in Sicily was founded in the cityIn the 14th century and into the Renaissance period, Catania was one of Italy's most important cultural, artistic and political centres.The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy.
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Barcelona ( BAR-sə-LOH-nə, Catalan: [bəɾsəˈlonə], Spanish: [baɾθeˈlona]) is a city on the coast of northeastern SpainIt is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of SpainWith a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, the Ruhr area, Madrid, and MilanIt is one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of which is 512 metres (1,680 feet) high. Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of BarcelonaAfter merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon as an economic and administrative centre of this Crown and the capital of the Principality of Catalonia.
Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destinationParticularly renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage SitesThe headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean are located in BarcelonaThe city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions and also many international sport tournaments. Barcelona is one of the world's leading tourist, economic, trade fair and cultural centres, and its influence in commerce, education, entertainment, sports, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the major global citiesIt is a major cultural and economic centre in southwestern Europe, 24th in the world (before Zürich, after Frankfurt) and a financial centre.
In 2008 it was the fourth most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world with GDP amounting to €177 billionIn 2012 Barcelona had a GDP of $170 billion; and it was leading Spain in employment rate in that moment.In 2009 the city was ranked Europe's third and one of the world's most successful as a city brandIn the same year the city was ranked Europe's fourth best city for business and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year, and the city has been experiencing strong and renewed growth for the past three yearsBarcelona is also the home of one of the world's most famous football clubs, FC BarcelonaSince 2011 Barcelona has been a leading smart city in Europe.