What to Visit
The city of Catania overlooks the Ionian Sea, offering a surprisingly varied coastline: from the jagged cliff of the seafront, to the sandy beach of Playa area, up to the characteristic black beach of San Giovanni Li Cuti, heritage of age-old lava flows.
Milestone of a stay in Catania is the visit of the majestic Mount Etna: it is the highest active volcano in Europe, absorbed in the wonderful Park of Etna, declared nature conservation area in 1987.
The historical centre of Catania is certainly worthy of a visit; it was rebuilt in Baroque style after the devastating eruption of 1669, which destroyed the city.
Among the many places and monuments, the following deserve absolutely a visit:
– Duomo Square, home to the Cathedral of Sant’Agata and Elephant Fountain, symbol of the city of Catania;
– Stesicoro Square, which houses the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre and the statue of the composer Vincenzo Bellini;
– Via Crociferi, with its beautiful Churches;
– The Ursino Castle, built in the first half of 1200 by Frederick II of Swabia;
– The Greek Theatre;
– The Benedictines’ Monastery;
– The Catacombs;
– The Birthplace of Vincenzo Bellini with annex Museum.
Also the surroundings of Catania are suggestive. Among them:
– “Paesi Etnei”, characteristic towns situated on the slopes of Etna, such as Trecastagni, Pedara, Nicolosi, Zafferana;
– the beautiful seaside resorts, such as Acicastello, Acitrezza, Capo Mulini, Riposto;
– and, not least, the towns of Acireale, famous for its folkloristic Carnival, and of Caltagirone, known for the production of beautiful ceramics.
<<Sicily is the land of oranges, of soil flourished where the air, in the spring, it’s all a perfume… But what makes it a land necessary to look and unique in the world, is the fact that from one end to the other, it can be defined as a strange and divine museum of architecture>>.
(Guy De Maupassant, “Journey in Sicily”, 1885).
Sicily, historic cradle of culture and traditions, counts among its most beautiful cities:
– Taormina, the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea”, famous for its beautiful coastline and the magnificent Greek Theatre;
– Siracusa, to which they belong the beautiful town of Noto, maximum example of Sicilian Baroque, and the natural reserve of Vendicari;
– Palermo, chief town of Sicily, which houses the sumptuous Norman Palace, now home to the Sicilian Parliament, the Cathedral, which contains the tomb of Frederick II of Swabia, and the marine reserve of the Island of Ustica;
– Agrigento, in which the enchanting Valley of the Temples stands, absorbed in the largest archaeological park of the world and part of the World Heritage of Humanity according to UNESCO, and to whose province the wonderful Island of Lampedusa belongs.
What to Do
There are many activities that can be done in Catania and in Sicily.
In the city of Catania or in its provinces it’s possible:
– take part in the feast of St. Agatha, Patroness of the city of Catania, which takes place by 3 to 5 of February of each year;
– take part in the folkloristic Carnival organized in the towns of Acireale and Misterbianco;
– join the local festivals, such as the “Ottobrata” which takes place in Zafferana in October, the “Festa del Castagno” which is held in Trecastagni in the months of September and October, the “Mushroom Festival” organized in Pedara in the months of September and October;
– attend the harvests in the town of Linguaglossa;
– spend a day at the amusement park “Etnaland”, amazing Waterpark and Themepark, located near Belpasso.
About the activities to carry out in the rest of Sicily it’s possibile:
– attend the Greek Tragedies at the Greek Theatre of Syracuse during the spring season;
– enroll in courses of delicious Sicilian cuisine;
– take courses of realization of the typical Sicilian ceramics.
The city of Catania offers a wide variety of choice for lovers of good food.
The Sicilian cuisine, after all, is considered the richest of specialties and the most scenographic of Italy.
There are many Restaurants and Taverns: they offer a menu of fish (especially those close to the sea) and a menu of traditional Sicilian cuisine (especially those located in the towns at the slopes of Mount Etna).
Also the offer of Wines is wide: the “Thousand and One Night”, the “Duke Henry” and the “Camelot” are certainly worthy of mention.
Fundamental destination of a stay in Sicily are the countless and amazing Pastry shops, which offer sweets of all kinds, such as cakes, desserts, ice creams, and some typical Sicilian sweets such as the “cannoli”, the “babà”, the “crispelle rice”, the “almond pastes”, the “cassata”, the “granite”.
In short, really there’s something for all tastes!