Things to Do in Catania
By: Liz Flynn
Located on the east coast of Sicily, Catania is an ancient port city. While it is most famous for Mount Etna, there are many other things to see and do in this beautiful coastal location. Here are some things you should consider including in your vacation.
1. Mount Etna
As the natural landmark is the most famous point in Catania, you should definitely include a visit to Mount Etna in your trip. You can either take a train ride around its flanks or venture up this active volcano on foot, although you will not reach the summit as it is too dangerous. Another option is to ski down the slopes of Mount Etna if you enjoy outdoor activities.
2. Teatro Bellini
Catania was the birthplace of the famous Italian composer, Vincenzo Bellini. It is after this talented man that the Teatro Bellini is named. This theatre is the perfect place to enjoy one of Bellini’s famous operas.
3. Piazza Duomo
At the heart of the city, you will find Piazza Duomo. Here you can enjoy spectacular views across the surrounding area. You can also admire the Fontana dell’Elefante, which is an elephant fountain carved out of black lava that is used as the symbol of the city. The piazza is lined by stunning Baroque buildings that were designed by Vaccarini.
4. Visit Baroque Churches
Baroque is the most significant style and period of architecture in Catania and this is apparent when you visit the many churches. Two of the most interesting to visit are the Collegiata Chapel and San Nicolo l’Arena. The former is a small and beautiful chapel while the latter is the largest church in Italy and, in the 1970s, was used as a refuse lorry depot.
5. Castello Ursino
Built in 1239 from lava stone, this castle was intended as a defensive fortification for Catania. Originally, the castle was right next to the harbour. Originally, the castle stood right next to the harbour. However, the coastline was pushed eastwards following a flow of lava from Mount Etna in 1669.
6. Eat Local Cuisine
Most restaurants in the area serve traditional Sicilian cuisine, so there are fantastic opportunities to try some of the local dishes. Due to the coastal location, fish and seafood dishes feature highly on most menus and these are something you should definitely try during your stay. You should also give arancini a try as these rice balls are delicious.