If you plan on visiting Catania, then this little guide on what to do and see is a must-read! Catania is a city full of culture, tradition, and mouth-watering dishes! And don’t underestimate its fantastic sea and the countless possibilities on Mount Etna!
A Little History
Founded in 729 BC, by the Calcidesi of Naxos, the city has a millenary history characterized by various dominations which have left countless finds. Later, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily and from the year 1434, thanks to King Alfonso V, it has been home to the oldest and most renowned university of the island. It is the most densely populated metropolitan area in Sicily as well as an economic and infrastructural center.
Beautiful and flourishing Catania is also the birthplace of many important writers and artists in general: Giovanni Verga, Nino Martoglio, Luigi Capuana, Federico De Roberto, Angelo Musco. In 2002, UNESCO paid it homage by declaring its historical center a world heritage site. Home to the largest airport in all of southern Italy, it is wonderfully connected to the mainland and the rest of Europe.
Its Historic Center
Catania is a Baroque city where lava stone from Mount Etna prevails and marble enriches its buildings and monuments. An absolute must-see is Piazza del Duomo. This square hosts the symbol of the city, the obelisk with the lava stone elephant. Around this beautiful fountain, we find the Cathedral of Sant’Agata, to which the city is particularly connected being that the Patron Saint’s body lies here. The elegant Palazzo dei Chierici, with its white stone and dark-colored plaster from volcanic sand, is also here. Catania’s town hall located in the famous Palazzo degli Elefanti is also here in Piazza del Duomo. The famous Fontana dell’Amenano stands on the opposite side.
Going down the road alongside this fountain, you’ll reach the fish market called Piscarìa. But without a shadow of a doubt, the heart of the historic center is Via Etnea from which you can reach the University Square, the beautiful Basilica Maria Santissima dell’Elemosina (or Basilica della Collegiata), Piazza Stesicoro with the Church of San Biagio and finally, the beautiful Villa Bellini.
These are just the highlights of what this amazing city has to offer!
What to Do in Catania
Catania is both energetic and eclectic boasting an endless list of places to visit. Its abundance of both art and culture is impressive. This incredible ancient city is young and dynamic at the same time. It is the fulcrum of various types of events: from the nocturnal to early morning.
The nightlife is always diverse and original in all seasons. Because Catania is a maritime city, from May until October seaside tourism is in full swing. Events abound that are suitable for families with children, to young people looking for entertainment, to couples in search of relaxation. Everyone surrenders to the charm of this beautiful seaside resort which satisfies the needs of all types of visitors.
The Sea and Beaches
To say that the coast of Sicily is one of the most beautiful in the Bel Paese is undeniable and that of Catania is certainly no less. There are many beaches in the province and each possesses its own unique beauty. The most famous is certainly Aci Trezza, which boasts clean and crystal clear waters, surrounded by faraglioni or rock formations eroded by waves. Playa di Catania is, without a doubt, the symbolic beach of the city with its fine, golden sand extending for 18 km. It offers tourists every kind of comfort because it is equipped with avant-garde bathing facilities. The list could be much longer than this, but we’ll conclude with the Fonte del Simento beach. Part of the Oasi del Simeto Nature Reserve, it is excellent for families and for relaxing.
This is just a small taste of how to experience Catania. For more information, visit our magazine!
Article by: G. La Cognata