The 1693 earthquake refers to a powerful earthquake that struck parts of southern Italy, notably Sicily, and Malta on January 11, 1693 around 9 pm local time as Mount Etna erupted. It destroyed at least 45 towns and cities, affecting an area of 5600 square kilometres and causing the death of over 60,000. Two thirds of the entire population of Catania were killed.
Completely destroying many buildings, the earthquake prompted a Baroque revival in architecture in the towns of Sicily and Malta known as Earthquake Baroque and many existing cathedrals and buildings can be pinpointed as being built at a similar time. Sicilian Baroque during the eighteenth century became known as an architectural subject in its own right.
Towns hit by the earthquake prompting the rebuilding of many of its structures include Syracuse, Sicily, Ragusa, Italy, Caltagirone, Palazzolo Acreide, Modica, Comiso and Mdina on Malta -such as St. Paul's Cathedral, Mdina.