Catania

Overview

The Jewel of the Sicilian Baroque, a city devoted to its patron Saint Agatha, is a gastronomic destination where trattorias and trendy bars coexist. But also nightlife, culture and street art. Catania has a lot of different sides, all worth exploring.

 

The historic centre is full of baroque churches, especially on via Crociferi, which has five churches overlooking it, such as the Church of San Benedetto, Palazzo Asmundo Francica-Nava (with a beautiful hanging garden), and the Church of San Francesco Borgia, where the great composer Vincenzo Bellini played the organ.

 

The Massimo Bellini theatre and Villa Bellini, the main city park, are both named after the author of Norma.

Where to Stay

Asmundo di Gisira

A 17th-century building in the historic center of Catania comes to life thanks to an enlightened owner to give travelers a unique stay experience among contemporary art, myths and legends of Sicily..

  • 3 nights

£ 485 per person

Asmundo di Gisira

A 17th-century building in the historic center of Catania comes to life thanks to an enlightened owner to give travelers a unique stay experience among contemporary art, myths and legends of Sicily..

  • 3 nights

City breaks

Worth visiting

Catania's seafront extends to two of the most characteristic seafaring villages of the Etna area: Aci Castello and Aci Trezza. You can admire the three stacks from here. History and tradition place the Cyclops' home here, including Polyphemus, who, as Homer tells us, threw three gigantic boulders against Ulysses in this part of the sea.

 

Nicolosi, a village on the slopes of Etna, is definitely one of the wonders of Catania. It's a tourist destination full of restaurants and pizzerias, and it's the starting point for excursions to the summit craters.

 

You can get to the glamorous seaside resort of Taormina in just over an hour by direct bus.

 

Shopping in Catania

Corso Italia is the main shopping street in Catania, and it's full of clothes stores, but you can also try Via Etnea or Umberto. If you're interested in local produce, check out the historic markets of Catania, like the Pescheria around Piazza Pardo, near the Duomo.

 

At the fresh fish stalls, you can also find dried fruit, extra virgin olive oil, red wine from Etna, dried legumes, and more.

Eat & drink

Catania's cuisine is rich and varied. Street food is a tradition. If you're ever in Catania, you have to try the Arancino (fried rice filled ball) from Da Savia, a historic pastry shop founded in 1897.

 

A great thirst quencher made with salt and lemon is Seltz. It is easy to find in the city's kiosks, especially if you go to Giammona Brothers in via Umberto.

 

If you want to eat some fish, book a table at Osteria Antica Marina (via Pardo 29), located in the historic fish market. One of the most well-known dishes is pasta alla Norma, which is seasoned with tomato sauce, fried eggplant, and salted ricotta. You can find it at La Siciliana restaurant (viale Marco Polo 52).

 

Fun fact

The feast of Sant'Agata in honour of the patron saint of Etna is undoubtedly the most important celebration of the city. It starts every year on February 3, with the fireworks that begin the evocative and folkloristic processions that continue on February 4 and 5. On that day, the Saint's reliquary bust is pulled by thousands of devotees dressed in the typical white sack. The feast of St. Agatha is the third religious celebration in the world for the number of visitors and faithful reaching over one million people.

 

The Catania Tango Festival in August is another must-see, mixing art and dance in various locations throughout the city's historic Baroque centre.

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