Both in summer and winter, there are lots of special places you should not miss while spending your holidays in Catania.
This wonderful city is not all about sunny weather and days at the beach, so here you are a “top ten” about things to do during your trip to Catania:
1) PIAZZA DUOMO
This is the main square of the city with its majestic cathedral dedicated to St. Agatha, matron of the city.
In the middle of the square you will find the symbol of Catania, a lava stone elephant called “Liotru” by its citizens.
This elegant baroque square also includes the seat of the city government (Palazzo degli Elefanti) and one of the most important fountains of the city from which gushes the river Amenano, flowing under Catania. A show not to be missed, both in the warm hours of the day and with the romantic lights of the night.
2) ROMAN AMPHITHEATER
This monument, renamed the “Black Colosseum” cause of its size smaller than the Colosseum of Rome only and the lava stone it was built with, it is one of the greatest examples of impressive monument of the Roman imperial era. It will be fantastic, once there, admiring it from Piazza Stesicoro which overlooks it from above as well as accessing and visiting its fascinating underground.
3) URSINO CASTLE
It was the royal residence of the Aragon family of Sicily and later used as a prison. A trace of it is found in the hundreds of graffiti that fill the walls of the ground floor and of the inner courtyard. Today the castle is used as a civic museum of the city. It has hosted and periodically hosts important temporary exhibitions of artists such as Caravaggio, Giotto, Andy Warhol, De Chirico and many others.
An inevitable stop if you are history and art addicted.
4) MONASTERY OF THE BENEDECTINES
This is considered to be the second largest Benedictine monastery in Europe and it is an ecclesiastical complex located in the historic center of Catania, consisting of an important Benedictine monastic building and a monumental eighteenth-century church. Damaged by bombing during the Second World War and subsequently restructured , the entire complex is today one of the most beautiful buildings of the University of Catania, seat of the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy.
5) BADIA DI SANT’AGATA
A marvelous church with a very particular and precious internal structure. The most beautiful part of the visit in this umpteenth baroque church is the view that you can admire climbing up to the top of the dome. From here you can admire a breathtaking view of the city, with the sea on one side and the mountain on the other one, a combination that characterizes Catania and its particular beauty.
6) BELLINI THEATER
This is the elegant and prestigious city theater named in honor of the composer Vincenzo Bellini. A guided tour inside is highly recommended, among the lights and ancient statues that characterize it and, why not, taking a look at the schedule you could also attend one of the wonderful shows proposed by the theater.
7) BELLINI GARDEN
It is the most beautiful park in the city. Rich in lush vegetation and with many areas for play, sport and relaxation. It is a place loved by the citizens to spend a few hours relaxing, perhaps under the shade of an ancient tree enjoying an excellent arancino. If you are lucky, you can also catch one of the many events that take place there during the warm season with market stalls, street food, music and lots of fun. Can’t miss it after a long day around the city!
8) SAN BERILLO DISTRICT
One of the most inner and secret neighborhoods of the city. This is a part of Catania, now redeveloped, which is difficult to find among the suggestions of the official guides but that deserves a visit. It is the former red light district of the city, today a secret corner and little known to visitors, sparkling with colors, murals and bars. This is also a stage that you could add to your tour for a break in a place as central as hidden inside Catania.
Probably one of the most characteristic places in Catania. A place that represents one of the cornerstones of the city tradition. This is the place where you can buy fresh fish or simply watch the fishmongers and their noisy way of selling fish to bystanders. In the midst of this folk show you can also sit in one of the restaurants in the area or eat something fast in one of the fish takeaways.
10) SEAFRONT AND S. GIOVANNI LI CUTI
Another attraction of the city located in central area but not within its historic center. It is a long avenue from which you can admire the wonderful coast of Catania, walking or cycling (there is a bike path). Within the promenade there is a coast area called San Giovanni Li Cuti, similar to a small fishing village within the city with boats and quaint restaurants.