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Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea. It is the capital of the Metropolitan City of Catania, one of the ten biggest cities in Italy, and the seventh largest metropolitan area in Italy. The population of the city proper is 315,601 while the population of the conurbation is estimated to be 767,003. The metropolitan city has 1,115,310 inhabitants.
Catania is well known for its historical earthquakes, having been destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in 1169, another one in 1693, and several volcanic eruptions from the neighbouring Mount Etna, the most violent of which was in 1669.
Catania has had a long and eventful history, having been founded in the 8th century BC. In 1434, the first university in Sicily was founded in the city. In the 14th century and into the Renaissance period, Catania was one of Italy's most important cultural, artistic and political centres. The city has a rich culture and history, hosting many museums, restaurants, churches, parks and theatres. Catania is well known for its street food.
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|LANGUAGE :||Italian (official)|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic|
|AREA :||180.88 km2 (69.84 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||7 m (23 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||37°30′0″N 15°5′25″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.6%
• Female: 51.4%
|AREA CODE :||095|
|POSTAL CODE :||95100|
|DIALING CODE :||+39 95|
Catania is a city located on the eastern coast of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna, the biggest volcano in Europe. It is the second largest city in Sicily with the metropolitan area reaching one million inhabitants, a major transport hub, economic centre and a university city where you will enjoy a busy downtown and an active nightlife. Catania is also well known for its particular baroque architecture and urban design (the downtown area is a World Heritage Site, along with the all Val di Noto area), consequences of the great earthquake of 1693 after which the city had to be rebuilt, like most of eastern Sicily.
The city has a history dating back 2700 years, dominated by several different cultures (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, etc.) and was a rich commercial centre, mainly due to its port. Again, since the 70's, the city economy is growing as the urban area and the suburbs, making Catania a large metropolitan centre, mainly between the volcano and the sea. Today, even if you can find there most of the biggest commercial centers in Europe (especially Etnapolis), the old 17th century downtown area is still the center of the day-to-day life.
Catania is situated under the most major currently active volcano in Europe and has been destroyed many times in the past. As a result, Catania is a city where you can find a great variety of landscape and architecture, a lot of dirty buildings and also a lot of abandoned houses, especially in the mountains. However, since the city is a World Heritage Site, a lot of renovations have been made.
Today, you will feel in Catania a mix of nostalgia and "joie de vivre", especially at night or during festivals.
The major feature of this city is its architecture, which is predominantly baroque. The major characteristic of Baroque architectural is its theatricality. This style dominated Europe in the 17th century as a result of the reformation/counter-reformation where the statement given was one of grandeur. The preceding style was Renaissance, while the succeeding was Neoclassicism. The three major features are a near excessive amount of detail (statues, lots of gold, columns and pilasters, garlands and wreaths etc.), façades which are taller than the nave (to fool the viewer of the size) and frescoes often featuring trompe-l'œil. Baroque from Catania has several unique features such as use of dark lava stone (basalt), the Bell in the façade itself and grotesque masks and putti.
Catania was founded as a Greek colony named Κατάνη (Katánē—see also the list of traditional-Greek place names), of Chalcidic origin, under the guidance of a leader named Euarchos (Euarchus).
The exact date of its foundation is not recorded, but it appears from Thucydides that it came into existence slightly later than Leontini (modern Lentini), which he claims was five years after Syracuse, or 730 BC.
The only event of its early history that is known about is the legislation of Charondas, The exacte date of which is uncertain.
His legislation was extended to the other Chalcidic cities, not only of Sicily, but of Magna Graecia also, as well as to his own country. It is evident that Catania had close relations with these other cities during this time.
Catania appears to have retained its independence up to the reign of the despot Hieron of Syracuse, whereupon in 476 BC he expelled all the original inhabitants of Catania and replaced them with those he ruled over at Leontini - said to have numbered no less than 10,000, consisting partly of Syracusans and Peloponnesians.
At the same time he changed the city's name to Αἴτνη (Aítnē, Aetna or Ætna, after the nearby Mount Etna, and proclaimed himself the Oekist or founder of the new city. For this he was celebrated by Pindar, and after his death he received heroic honors from the citizens of his new colony.
A few years after the death of Hieron and the expulsion of Thrasybulus, the Syracusans combined with Ducetius, king of the Sicels, to expel the newly settled inhabitants of Catania, who went on to settle in the fortress of Inessa (to which they gave the name Aetna). The old Chalcidic citizens were reinstated to the city in 461 BC.
The period that followed appears to have been one of great prosperity for Catania, as well as for the Sicilian cities in general. However, no details from this period of its history are known, until the great Athenian expedition to Sicily (part of the larger Peloponnesian War), when the Athenians invaded the city.
The Catanaeans at first refused to allow the Athenians into their city, but after the latter had forced an entrance, they found themselves compelled to honour the alliance of their invaders. Catania became the headquarters of the Athenian armament throughout the first year of the expedition, and the base of their subsequent operations against Syracuse.
No information exists on the fate of Catania after the Athenian expedition. It is next mentioned in 403 BC when it fell into the power of Dionysius I of Syracuse, who plundered the city and sold its citizens as slaves, after which he established a body of Campanian mercenaries.
These, however, quit in 396 BC and retired to Aetna, on the approach of the great Carthaginian armament under Himilco and Mago. The great naval battle in which the latter defeated Leptines, who was quickly fought off from Catania, and the city is consequently believed to have fallen into the hands of the Carthaginians.
Calippus, the assassin of Dion of Syracuse, held possession of Catania for a time (Plut. Dion. 58); and when Timoleon landed in Sicily Catania was subject to a despot named Mamercus, who at first joined the Corinthian leader, but afterwards abandoned this allegiance for that of the Carthaginians. As a consequence he was attacked and expelled by Timoleon.
Catania was now restored to liberty, and appears to have continued to retain its independence; during the wars of Agathocles with the Carthaginians, it sided at one time with the former, at others with the latter; and when Pyrrhus landed in Sicily, Catania was the first to open its gates to him, and received him with the great splendour.
Catania was the birthplace of the philosopher and legislator Charondas and was also the place of residence of the poet Stesichorus, who was buried in a magnificent sepulchre outside one of the gates, which derived from thence the name of Porta Stesichoreia. (Suda, under Στησίχορος.)
Xenophanes, the philosopher of Elea, also spent the latter years of his life in the city so that it was evidently, at an early period, a place of cultivation and refinement.
The first introduction of dancing to accompany the flute was also ascribed to Andron, a citizen of Catania.
In ancient times Catania was associated with the legend of Amphinomus and Anapias, who, on occasion of a great eruption of Etna, abandoned all their property and carried off their aged parents on their shoulders, the stream of lava itself was said to have parted, and flowed aside so as not to harm them. Statues were erected to their honor, and the place of their burial was known as the Campus Piorum; the Catanaeans even introduced the figures of the youths on their coins, and the legend became a favorite subject of allusion and declamation among the Latin poets, of whom the younger Lucilius and Claudian have dwelt upon it at considerable length.
The occurrence is referred by Hyginus to the first eruption of Etna that took place after the settlement of Catania.
In the First Punic War, Catania was one of the first among the cities of Sicily, which made their submission to the Roman Republic, after the first successes of their arms in 263 BC. The expression of Pliny (vii. 60) who represents it as having been taken by Valerius Messalla, is certainly a mistake.
It appears to have continued afterwards steadily to maintain its friendly relations with Rome, and though it did not enjoy the advantages of a confederate city (foederata civitas), like its neighbors Tauromenium (modern Taormina) and Messana (modern Messina), it rose to a position of great prosperity under the Roman rule.
Cicero repeatedly mentions it as, in his time, a wealthy and flourishing city; it retained its ancient municipal institutions, its chief magistrate bearing the title ofProagorus; and appears to have been one of the principal ports of Sicily for the export of corn.
It subsequently suffered severely from the ravages of Sextus Pompeius, and was in consequence one of the cities to which a colony was sent by Augustus; a measure that appears to have in a great degree restored its prosperity, so that in Strabo's time it was one of the few cities in the island that was in a flourishing condition.
It retained its colonial rank, as well as its prosperity, throughout the period of the Roman Empire; so that in the 4th century Ausonius in his Ordo Nobilium Urbium, notices Catania and Syracuse alone among the cities of Sicily.
One of the most serious eruptions of Mount Etna happened in 121 BC, when great part of Catania was overwhelmed by streams of lava, and the hot ashes fell in such quantities in the city itself, as to break in the roofs of the houses.
Catania was in consequence exempted, for 10 years, from its usual contributions to the Roman state The greater part of the broad tract of plain to the southwest of Catania (now called the Piana di Catania, a district of great fertility), appears to have belonged, in ancient times, to Leontini or Centuripa (modern Centuripe), but that portion of it between Catana itself and the mouth of the Symaethus, was annexed to the territory of the latter city, and must have furnished abundant supplies of grain.
The port of Catania also, which was in great part filled up by the eruption of 1669, appears to have been in ancient times much frequented, and was the chief place of export for the corn of the rich neighboring plains. The little river Amenanus, or Amenas, which flowed through the city, was a very small stream and could never have been navigable.
Catania was sacked by the Vandals of Gaiseric in 440–441. After a period under the Ostrogoths, it was reconquered in 535 by the Eastern Roman Empire, under which (aside from a short period in 550–555) it remained until the 9th century. It was the seat of the Byzantine governor of the island.
Catania was under the Islamic emirate of Sicily until 1072, when it fell to the Normans of Roger I of Sicily. Subsequently the city was ruled by a bishop-count. In 1194–1197 the city was sacked by German soldiers during after the conquest of the island by emperor Henry VI. In 1232 it rebelled to the former's son,Frederick II, who later built a massive castle, Castello Ursino and also made Catania a royal city, ending the dominance of the bishops. Catania was one of the main centers of the Sicilian Vespers revolt (1282) against the House of Anjou, and was the seat of the incoronation of the new Aragonese king of Sicily,Peter I. In the 14th century it gained importance as it was chosen by the Aragonese as a Parliament and Royal seat. Here, in 1347, it was signed the treaty of peace that ended the long War of the Vesper between Aragonese and Angevines. Catania lost its capital role when, in the early 15th century, Sicily was turned into a member of the Crown of Aragon, and kept its autonomy and original privileges specially during the period from 1282 to 1410.
In 1434 King Alfonso V founded here the Siciliae Studium Generale, the oldest university in the island.
Early Modern times
With the unification of Castile and Aragon (early 16th century), Sicily became part of the Spanish Empire. It rebelled against the foreign government in 1516 and 1647.
In 1669 the city's surroundings suffered great material damage from an eruption of Mount Etna. The city itself was largely saved by its walls that diverted most of the lava into the port. Afterwards in 1693 the city was then completely destroyed by a heavy earthquake and its aftershocks. The city was then rebuilt in the Baroque architecture that nowadays characterizes it.
Catania was one of the vanguards of the movement for the Sicilian autonomy in the early 19th century.
In 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi's expedition of the Thousand conquered Sicily for Piedmont from the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Since the following year Catania was part of the newly unified Italy, whose history it shares since then.
During the Second World War Catania was repeatedly bombed by the Allies, starting from 5 June 1940, and some 100,000 of its inhabitants were moved to the neighboring villages. It was evacuated by the Germans on 5 August 1943 and liberated by the British 8th Army. After the conflict, and the constitution of the Italian Republic (1946), the history of Catania was, like the history of other cities of southern Italy, an attempt to catch up with the economic and social development of the richer northern regions in the country and to solve the problems that for historic reasons plague the Mezzogiorno, namely a heavy gap in industrial development and infrastructures, and the threat of the mafia. This notwithstanding, during the 1960s (and partly during the 1990s) Catania enjoyed a development and an economic, social and cultural effervescence. In the first decade of the 21st century, Catania economic and social development somewhat faltered and the city is again facing economic and social stagnation. This was aggravated by the economical crisis left by the Forza Italia administration of mayor Scapagnini in 2008.
The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Csa" (Mediterranean Climate). It has hot and long summers, the hottest in the whole Italy (a feature characterising nearly every months). 40 °C (104 °F) are surpassed almost every year a couple of times, with record highs over 45 °C (113 °F).
Winters are mild (not rare peaks around 20 °C) and wet. Most of precipitations are concentrated from October to March, leaving late spring and summer virtually dry (some years rain lacks for 3–4 months). The city receives around 500 mm of rain per year, although amount can highly vary from year to year (wettest over 1200 mm, dryest under 250 mm).
During winter nights occasionally lows can go under 0 °C (32 °F). Highs under 10 °C (50 °F) are rare as well. Snowfalls, due to the presence of Etna, are very rare, latest occurred on 9 February 2015, but the last snowfall of particular relevance dates back to 17 December 1988.
Climate data for Catania, Sicily
|Record high °C (°F)||25.0
|Average high °C (°F)||16.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.2
|Average low °C (°F)||5.2
|Record low °C (°F)||−5.0
|Source #1: Hong Kong Observatory|
Catania is the first economic and industrial hub of Sicily. The city is famous for its mainly petrochemical industry, and the extraction of sulphur. In the year 2000, according to Census, Catania was the 14th richest city in Italy, with a GDP of US$6.6 billion (€6.304 billion), which was 0.54% of the Italian GDP, a GDP per capita of US$21,000 (€20,100) and an average GDP per employee of US$69,000 (€66,100).
In the late-19th century and early-20th century, Catania began to be heavily industrialised, with its several factories and chimneys, often to the extant that it was referred to as Southern Italy's "Manchester." The economy of Catania suffered heavily from the bad effects of World War I, and was marked by an economic crisis and recession that culminated in the 1920s. Since then, the city lost its industrial and entrepreneurial importance. In the 1930s, Catania remained a small fishing town with derelict and disused industries. However, after the destruction of World War II, Catania's economy began to re-grow in the late-1950s and early-1960s. As a matter of fact, the city's economic growth was so rapid and dynamic that it was often nicknamed the "Milan of the South", or in Italian"Milano del Sud".This rapid economic growth prompted a great number of Sicilians living in the more rural areas, or smaller towns such as Enna, Ragusa and Caltanissetta, to move to the city to seek new jobs.
Today, Catania, despite several problems, has one of the most dynamic economies in the whole of Southern Italy. It still has a strong industrial and agricultural sector, and a fast-growing tourist industry, with many international visitors coming to visit the city's main sights and the nearby Etna volcano. It contains the headquarters or important offices of companies such as STMicroelectronics, and also several chemical and pharmaceutical businesses. There have been several new business developments to further boost Catania's economy, including the construction of Etnapolis, a huge and avant-garde commercial centre designed by Massimiliano Fuksas, the same architect who designed the FieraMilano industrial fair in Milan, or the Etna Valley, where several high-tech offices are located.
Tourism is a fast-growing industry in Catania. Lately the administration and private companies have made several investments in the hospitality industry in order to make tourism a competitive sector in Catania and its province. Nearby, just 12 kilometres (7 miles) from the city, there is Etnaland, a big theme park, which is the largest of its kind in Southern Italy and which attracts thousands of tourists, not only from Sicily, but also from the rest of Italy.
The city of Catania is divided in ten administrative areas called Municipalità(Municipalities). The current administrative set-up was established in 1995, modifying previous set-ups dating back to 1971 and 1978.
The ten municipalities of Catania are:
- I. Centro
- II. Ognina-Picanello
- III. Borgo-Sanzio
- IV. Barriera-Canalicchio
- V. San Giovanni Galermo
- VI. Trappeto-Cibali
- VII. Monte Po-Nesima
- VIII. San Leone-Rapisardi
- IX. San Giorgio-Librino
- X. San Giuseppe La Rena-Zia Lisa-
Prices in Catania
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$2.00|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$28.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$42.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$61.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$3.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$2.90|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$7.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$13.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.20|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$5.10|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$1.40|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$72.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M.)||1||$|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$1.00|
Transportation - Get In
Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (IATA: CTA) with scheduled and charter planes arriving from destinations throughout Italy and Europe.
From the airport, there are half-hourly buses (number 457) to Catania's bus station. The trip takes about 20 minutes. Tickets cost €1 and must be purchased from a tobacconist or lottery kiosk in the terminal before boarding.
- Tourist information counter (Ground floor, Arrivals area, east side), . M-Sa 08:00-19:15.
Frequent trains run up the east coast to and from Taormina (but the station is a long walk below the town, at Giardini Naxos) and Messina, then on to Naples and Rome etc. Trains also run to Enna, Palermo (slower than the buses) and Syracuse. A scenic route runs inland to Caltagirone and Gela. The railway station is 10 minutes walk from the city centre.
Frequent buses run to Taormina, Messina, Enna, Caltanissetta, Ragusa andSyracuse. Less frequent buses run to local destinations, Naples, Rome etc. The main bus station is opposite the railway station and 10 minutes walk from the city centre.
Several Ferries run from mainland Italy to Catania. There is an overnight car Ferry that runs daily between Naples and Catania as well as ones from Genova and Civitavechia. One can also get a ferry to/from Valletta.
Transportation - Get Around
Catania has a compact centre and it is most convenient just to walk around.
City bus services are provided by AMT (Azienda Metropolitana Trasporti Catania). It is said though that travelling by public transport may be quite problematic, as waiting time sometimes could be quite long.
If you drive, you may have to put up with heavy, slow, messy, unruly traffic jams.
If you want to travel along the coast (Aci Castello, Aci Trezza, Acireale), you can drive or call for a taxi (there are several at Piazza Duomo), or you can also use the train or bus.
The city also boasts a short metro line. Unfortunately the line does not cross the city centre, instead it rather skirts it when running from the Catania's port (Porto station) to the Circumetnea train terminal (Borgo station), from where you can reach villages on the slopes of Mount Etna. 2 extension branches of the metro are under construction which is planned to finish in the middle of 2016.
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The Addiopizzo Catania is a movement of shopkeepers who refuse to pay the racket to the Mafia. The Catania's consumers sustain them by going shopping in their stores.
Every morning,except Sundays, two fascinating markets are held:
- Fera 'o Luni, Piazza Carlo Alberto. M-Sa morning. A bustling food and clothes market. The main historic market of Catania.
- La Piscaria, Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto. M-Sa morning. A large fish market in a beautiful setting off Piazza Duomo. You could have to haggle the price.
Catania is proud of its specialities. A famous speciality is pasta alla Normawhich consists in pasta (generally macaroni) dressed with tomato sauce and topped with fried eggplant slices, grated ricotta salad and fresh basil. The fish is also good, as Catania is a large port. The city is also known for horse meat, especially in some areas around the "Benedictine Monastery".
Typical Catanese pastry include the world-wide famous cannolo alla Ricotta,cassatella di Sant'Agata (a small cassata) and pasta di Mandorla" (based on almond meal).
Like in most of Sicily, you can get a freshly made cold panini in a salumeria, where you choose whatever you want to put in (prosciutto cotto/crudo and cheese are probably the most popular ones), for €1-3. Don’t forget that most of salumerias are closed between 1-4PM and on Sunday afternoon.
You can also have some tavola calda (“hot bite”) meal, most of them made with cheese and meat, fried or baked. You will normally pay €1,50 for one piece.
Another Sicilian speciality is arancino, which are deep fried rice balls with various fillings, meat or eggplant or spinach, that sell for €1,50 at most places. They make a good lunch snack.
Also, especially in the evening, some big kiosks sell hot, tasty and fat panini, some even even horse meat filling. Most people add fries into the sandwich. Usually, it’s about €2,50-3,00 and they are very popular among teenagers. Because its quite cheap, there is normally confusion at these kiosks.
In summer, a typical breakfast consists of "Granita" (a kind of sorbet of almond or black mulberry) served with a brioscia (sweet round small loaf): it is a nourishing and refreshing combination that can be found in almost any bar of the city.
- Spinella Pasticceria, Via Etna 300, . Sicilian cakes, cannolis, arancini, espresso. Outdoor seating. $.
- Trattoria Il Mare, Via San Michele 11, . Delicious seafood. Casual atmosphere.
In the proximity of Ursino Castle, there is a good selection of restaurants. Good food quality and decent prices. Among the others are:
- Camelot is great for the meat lover.
- Roxy has standard Sicilian/Italian food for a decent price with friendly staff.
- L'Angolo della Chef, 77 Via Plebiscito. Humble home cooking joint. Traditional Sicilian dishes from caponata to polli alla brace. Not for the posh, but great for lovers of street food.
- Sicilia in bocca, Via Beato Cardinale G.B. Dusmet, 35, . To try typical Sicilian food and pizza. Beware that there are in fact two restaurants in the city with this name. The other one has very poor food quality, long waits, smoky outside section, and bad attitude towards foreigners (along with a different menu). When going to Sicilia in Bocca by taxi, be sure to specify the correct address.
Coffe & Drink
You'd find all kinds of kiosks in the city which sell various refreshments, such as coffee, lemoncello or popular local drinks such as seltz al limone (soda water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice) or mandarino al limone (soda water with tangerine syrup and fresh-squeezed lemon juice).
Sights & Landmarks
World Heritage Sites
- Piazza del Duomo. An attractive, lively baroque square. Here you can find the Fontana dell'Elefante(Elephant Fountain) or U Liotru - the symbol of the city. 3 building located there are World Heritage Sites. The square is also an entrance to the elegant via Etnea, the main shopping street.
- Cattedrale di Sant'Agata(Duomo), Piazza del Duomo.An imposing Catania Cathedral, well worth visiting.
- Palazzo degli Elefanti(Palazzo Municipale).
- Palazzo dei Chierici(Palace of Clerks).
- Chiesa della Badia di S.Agata, Via Vittorio Emanuele 184. Tu-Su 9:00-12:00; Guided tours to the dome and the terraces: Th-Su 9:00-12:00, F-Sa 19:00-22:00 € 3.00). Free admission.
- Castello Ursino (Castello Svevo di Catania), Piazza Federico Di Svevia, . until 14/2/2016 M-Fr 9:00-19:00, Sa 9:00-23:00, Su 9:00-22:00. a 13th century castle near center. Currently it hostsMuseo civico (Civic Museum). €12.
- Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena (The Benedictine Monastery), Piazza Dante, 32, , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Fr 8:00-20:00, Sa 8:00-14:00. Su (only for guided tours) 9:00-12:00. It is the oldest one in Sicily and it is one of the biggest monasteries in Europe. It hosts now the Faculty of Literature of the University of Catania. €6.
- Chiesa di San Nicolò l'Arena, Piazza Dante (adjacent to the Benedictine Monastery), . M-Su 9:00-12:30. It is an unachieved church which was supposed the be the biggest one in Sicily.the church: free; Path Gronda €3.00;.
- Via Crociferi. It's a centre of an ecclesiastical architecture in Catania: in no more than 200 meters there are 4 churches, 3 monasteries and a college are located there.
- Monastero S.Benedetto (entrance from via Teatro Greco, 2), . F-W 9:00-18:00, Su only before a messa. A splendid baroque monument. €5 (guided tours only).
- Chiesa S.Francesco Borgia, Via Crociferi, 17, . M-Sa 9:00-19:30, 1st Su/month 9:00-19:30, 3rd Su/month 9:00-13:30. Today the church used for various cultural events. Next to the church is a former Jesuit college. Free admission.
- Chiesa di San Giuliano, Via Crociferi, 36, .
- Basilica S. Maria dell'Elemosina (Basilica della Collegiata), Via Etnea 23. Tu-Su 9:00-12:00, 17:00-19:00. Free admission.
- Palazzo Biscari, Via Museo Biscari, 10 - 16, , e-mail: [email protected]. 7:00-13.00, 15:00-19:00. It is one the most interesting baroque palaces in Catania. The palace is privately owned. It is advised to check with the tourist office for possibilities to visit it.
Ancient Roman and Greek
- Teatro Romano (Roman Theatre), Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 266, . Mo-Su 9:00-19:00 (last admission 18:30).€6; 1st Su/month free.
- Anfiteatro Romano, Piazza Stesicoro, .Tu-Sa 9:00-13:30 e 14:30-17:00.A modest remains of the Roman Amphitheatre. Free admission.
- Terme della Rotonda, Via della Rotonda, . W Su 9:00-13:00. the remains of ancient Roman Baths. Free admission.
Other notable attractions
- Teatro Massimo Bellini, Piazza Vincenzo Bellini, . A 19th-century opera theatre named after the Catania-born composer Vincenzo Bellini. The square before the theatre is said to be a popular meeting place among the local young people, so its neighbourhood is very lively and busy by night.
- Palazzo dell'Università, Piazza Università.
- Palazzo Platamone (Palazzo Della Cultura), Via Vitt. Emanuele 121, . M-Sa 9:00-9:00, Su 9:00-13:00. The formerConvento San Placido. Free admission.
- Porta Garibaldi (Porta Ferdinandea), Via Garibaldi (at the E end of Piazza Palestro). The gates erected in 1768 in honor of King Ferdinand IV and his family.
Things to do
- Walk via Etnea - the main shopping avenue, running North from the Piazza del Duomo has most of the city's imposing building and is busy throughout the day and evening. Lots of churches. This road is the equivalent of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, so in the evenings the local people put on their Sunday clothes and walk at a relaxed pace along this avenue.
- Giardino Bellini (Villa Bellini). Relax at a beautiful 19th century park. The oldest part of it, known as Laberinto Biscari, dates even back to the 18th century.
- La Plaja, sandy beaches south of the city along the bay
- The Riviera dei ciclopi, a rocky, volcano coast north of the city, stretching almost to Taormina
- Visit a minor religious festival, but avoid Sant'Agata on the 5th February due to the excessive crowds.
- Museo Diocesano (Diocesan Museum), Via Etnea 8, . M W F 9:00-14:00, Tu Th 9:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00, Sa 9:00-13:00. €7; Museum, Terme Achilliane, Benedictine Monastery €12.
- Museo Belliniano (Bellini Museum), Piazza S. Francesco, 3, . M-Sa 9:00-19:00, Su 9:00-13:00. A museum devoted to Vincenzo Bellini, a famous Italian composer. Combined ticket with Museo Emilio Greco: €5.
- Museo Emilio Greco (Emilio Greco Museum), Piazza S. Francesco, 3, . M-Sa 9:00-19:00, Su 9:00-13:00. A museum devoted to Italian artist Emilio Greco. Combined ticket with Museo Belliniano: €5.
Things to know
Sicilian used to be the common language here for centuries, as the Sicilian culture is isolated on an island. Even in Catania, you will notice Italian and Sicilian (as Palermo, Catania has its own dialect) in some neighborhoods, especially in inner areas, while most people speak mainly Italian in the city center.
Catania has a unique cuisine, with strong Sicilian traits. Dishes such as Pasta alla Norma are from the city. Pasta alla Norma is a pasta dish made out of macaroni-like penne, tomato sauce, largely sliced aubergines, and often topped with salty ricotta, or ricotta salata in Italian. Granita, a popular flavoured sherbet, is believed to hail from the city too. Blood oranges, such as the famous tarocco, are common to the city and others. Another famous plate is horse's meat, usually cooked on coals and sold on the streets and at restaurants. In Castello Ursino's surroundings are located the most famous horse's meat restaurants with lots of different price ranges. However, the most famous and traditional food are the Arancini. It is a rice croquette stuffed with any kind of ingredients such as meat sauce, mushrooms, pistachio, smoked salmon....It has an orange colour because of the saffron used. The arancini are on sale in any Tavola Calda shop and they can be eaten at any time of the day.
Safety in Catania
Be careful not to look conspicuously touristy, exposing jewelry, large bags or photo gear that might entice fast pickpockets or robbers.