Between the coast of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna is located the picturesque town of Catania, founded in 729 BC. Many tragic events fell on his lot: 4 powerful earthquakes, volcanic eruptions. This was the reason for the global restructuring of the city, more than 5 times it completely changed its appearance. The current architecture has been preserved since the 18th century, then the architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini literally rebuilt Catania in the authentic “Sicilian Baroque” style. Walking through the streets of the city, you should definitely visit the Cathedral of St. Agatha (built in honor of the patroness of Catania), the Massimo Bellini Theater, the Basilica della Collegiate, the Elephant Palace and Ursino Castle. On February 5, the most massive religious procession of the world in honor of St. Agatha takes place in Catania, which is certainly worth participating.
Catania Fontanarossa Airport ( Catania The Fontanarossa Airport then ) - download scheme
The following companies provide car rental services at Catania Airport: Hertz, AP Transfers SRL, Forzese autonoleggio, Holiday car rental SRL, Hollywood Rent a Car, Italy Car Rent, Locauto Rent, Enterprise. Car rental desks are located in the arrivals hall. There is a parking zone near the airport.
Via Vittorio Emanuele, 149-161
Take a rental car to look at the main architectural monument, built in honor of the patroness of the city of the martyr Agatha - the church of the Abbey of St. Agatha. The shrine was rebuilt on the site of the destroyed structure at the beginning of the XVIII century. The luxurious exterior is complemented by stucco elements, sculptures, a massive dome is pompously seen from above. Going inside, the impression of high windows and a huge amount of light. On the right side is visible the fresco "Baptism of Christ."
You can hide from annoying sunshine in hot weather in the picturesque Villa Bellini Park. The area of 70 thousand square meters is divided by thin paths. Walking, you can see a huge number of fountains of different sizes, sculptures, stairs. Here are the legendary flower clocks that show the current time (by the way, the flowers are transplanted by the park workers daily), small gazebos for relaxation and busts of prominent theater figures.
Via Mulino Santa Lucia
You can enjoy the Catania flavor and have plenty of fun with the locals by going fresh to the fish market. From early morning, merchants open their shops, buyers scurry around in search of the best prices, the true Sicilian temperament is constantly spinning in the air. Here you will not only be offered seafood and fish for every taste, but will also share traditional recipes. You can participate in the preparation of the dishes and their tasting right in the Antica Marina trattoria located on the market.
Via Giuseppe Perrotta, 12 www.teatromassimobellini.it
If you rent a car, do not deny yourself the pleasure of seeing the Massimo Bellini Theater with your own eyes. Built at the end of the 19th century, the attraction is considered a vivid example of Baroque architecture. Relief images, an elegant arcade that goes into the balcony, ancient statues, delicate patterns - everything seems to come to life before our eyes and fascinates with its grace. The theater’s repertoire includes works by Italian and foreign talents.
Via Teatro Greco
One of the oldest buildings in the city is the Roman Theater. Archaeologists have found that the first theater on this site was built by the Greeks in 415 BC. With the advent of the Romans, the attraction was modified, so in the II century AD it found its current appearance. Already in the Middle Ages, the theater fell into decay, they began to gradually disassemble it into building materials, and later completely abandoned it. It was only in the 19th century that an ancient building was discovered and opened up a place for tourists.
50 kilometers from Catania is the picturesque town of Syracuse with a huge number of interesting places and special energy. The first thing worth visiting is the Neapolis Archaeological Park. Here you can spend the whole day exploring the grotto of nymphs, the cave “Ear of Dionysius”, walking along the street of the tombs. The small island is also impressive, with two bridges and the early Christian catacombs of San Giovanni dating back to the 4th century. Architecture lovers should visit the numerous churches (the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist, the Jesuit College church) and the castles of the city (including the castle of Maniache). The main attraction for tourists with children is the Puppet Museum with the most incredible characters: wizards, monsters, witches, dolls.
If you have studied the sights of Catania far and wide and are eager to get another portion of bread and circuses, go to the glorious town of Taormina. At one time, the resort conquered more than one heart of aristocrats, artists, writers. People of art easily deceived themselves with the spectacularity and charm that the city literally radiates. If you not only intend to make a mini cruise along the famous beaches, but also to explore historical places, stay in the city for a few days. The main attractions here are April 9, which houses the Church of St. Augustine and the medieval chapel, as well as the clock tower Torre dell'Orogio and the Greek Theater. The resort is famous for the Taormina Arte festival, which is accompanied by massive dance and theater performances, music concerts from year to year.
Fans of an adrenaline rush or ardent hunters of scenic views should visit the Etna Nature Park, located near the largest active volcano. The territory is divided into 4 zones, but tourists are only allowed access to the first one for reasons of safety and preservation of flora and fauna. At the same time, travelers will be able to get close enough to the volcano, see the crater and how the lava flow burns everything in its path. Particularly popular here are the Beauvais lava valley and caves, which many centuries ago were used as places for burial of the dead or shrines.
On a one-day excursion you can go to the town of Acireale, formed by lava flows. The main attractions here are the neo-Gothic Basilica of Saints Peter, the Collegiate Basilica of San Sebastiano, the Cathedral, Villa Belvedere Park and the La Timpa Nature Reserve. The town is also famous for festivals and holidays. They pass noisily and cheerfully, accompanied by laughter, colored confetti, bell rings and mass marches. By the way, Acireale is famous for its thermal springs, among which the Thermae of St. Catherine of Alexandria and thermae of St. Venus are especially distinguished.
Rent a car and go to the small town of Caltagirone (70 kilometers from Catania), famous for its unique architecture in the style of “Sicilian Baroque”. Already in the second millennium BC, the city was inhabited by people: discovered necropolises and numerous finds of archaeologists testify to this. After seeing the significant sights (Norman Church of St. Julian, the baroque church of San Francesco di Paolo, the magnificent staircase of Santa Maria del Monte with 142 steps), look at the shopping arcades to buy souvenirs. From Caltagirone it is definitely worth bringing terracotta products, majolica, pottery.
Piazza Abramo Lincoln, 21 www.cioccolatoegelato.com
For morning coffee and a lethal dose of sweets in Catania, head to C&G Cioccolato e Gelato. From the terrace of the establishment offers a picturesque view of the volcano, palm trees, sea. It is especially nice to enjoy the views over a mug of cappuccino with a bite of ice cream, chocolate, pastries or dessert. No matter what time you drop in, whether at 8 am or 8 pm, you will be given a warm welcome, quickly and with a smile to serve. An unrivaled breakfast will surely make you stop by again.
Via Carlo Felice Gambino, 17 www.feelingoodcatania.it
Feelin 'Good is perfect for a hearty family snack or gatherings with your family. The menu of the restaurant is diverse, so lovers of American dishes, Italian or fans of healthy food will have something to satisfy their hunger. Burgers (including vegetables), salads, desserts, tonic cocktails - everything is prepared from fresh ingredients, plus it is quickly served. Potato lovers should try stuffed potatoes with stews, wine lovers should try a local drink.
Viale della Libertà, 129 smart19857.wixsite.com/hosteria-del-panda
For the freshest seafood and excellently prepared dishes from local cuisine, it is worth a visit to Hosteria del Panda. Spaghetti with mussels, spaghetti with capers in tomato sauce, grilled fish with ginger sauce, tiramisu are beyond praise. In addition to the main order, take Sicilian wine - you certainly will not lose. The staff creates a certain homeliness, meeting with a smile, helping to understand the menu and make a choice. It will be more convenient to get to the restaurant in a rented car.
Via Spadaccini 4 | Corner Via di San Giuliano bifhamburger.it
BIF - Grill House Hamburgheria is one of the most popular places in Catania where you can try a real American hamburger, a noble piece of meat with vegetables and delicious desserts. It impresses not only the stylish interior and cozy atmosphere, but also the competent work of the staff. If you are allergic to something, warn about it, if you can not figure out the assortment of dishes, feel free to ask for recommendations.
Via Museo Biscari, 8 www.facebook.com/Canni-Pisci-Meat-Fish
If for dinner you decide to get outside the hotel or nearby places, Canni & Pisci-Meat & Fish is just that “mast visit”. An ideal dinner option is fish, mussels, a warm salad and a bottle of local wine. By the way, adherents of gluten-free dishes will also have something to choose here. The staff is extremely polite and friendly. The cozy atmosphere has a pleasant rest and unhurried meal in good company. To make the evening unforgettable, book a table in advance.
If you plan to rent a car to travel around Catania, Airone City Hotel is a great option with free parking. Elite hotel is located 15 minutes from the center, the apartments are spacious and comfortable. In the morning, a hearty breakfast is offered, in case of misunderstanding, the staff will quickly respond to requests. It will be convenient to stay during a family trip or business trip.
The stylish Hotel Romano House is located in the heart of Catania, it features luxurious interiors that organically combine classic and modern, high ceilings and stucco moldings. Nearby are the main attractions, which you can explore if you wish on foot. Breakfast is organized in buffet style, the dishes are delicious and varied. In case of need for a business meeting, a conference room is equipped, to celebrate an important event - a banquet hall. Fans of a healthy lifestyle will surely appreciate a functional fitness center.
Hotel Royal is a romantic hotel in the center of Catania. The Cathedral, the Roman Amphitheater, the market can be reached in a few minutes. The first thing that impresses is the stylish interior: the corridors are decorated with paintings, the rooms are equipped with antique furniture, and decor items. The hotel has a rooftop terrace with a jacuzzi and restaurant. Couples with children will be able to use the competent babysitting service.
If you are looking for a comfortable hotel at a reasonable price, opt for the Katane Palace Hotel. Having looked closely, it clearly resembles a real palace. A cute courtyard is equipped for a meal, where it will be comfortable to be even when the sun's rays are especially active. Despite the appearance of the old building, the rooms are equipped with everything necessary. You can shorten your evening activities in the hotel bar with snacks and a glass of wine. For tourists, rental cars are equipped with free parking.
If you plan to stay in Catania for two to three days, NH Catania Centro is the best fit. Nearby are the main attractions, as well as restaurants and shops where you can spend your leisure time. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, with a large bathroom. Breakfast is varied and satisfying, whatever your gastronomic preferences, here you will definitely find something to satisfy your hunger. The hotel provides a conference room, banquet hall, room-service.
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© Anastasiia Voloshina, 2017