Today we will talk about the small Sicilian city of Catania. The sights of this town will surely attract the attention of lovers of picturesque ancient architecture and fans of antiquity. So let’s get started.
During the Renaissance, Catania was considered one of the most influential cities in the country and was widely known for its rich culture, art and history. The city has managed to preserve a significant part of this rich heritage, so today everyone has the opportunity to admire its amazing buildings and museums, including the Basilica of Sant’Agata and the building of the city museum.
In addition, this charming Sicilian city is located opposite the legendary Mount Etna, so you can always book an interesting tour or excursion around the area in the fresh air.
Cathedral of Saint Agatha
The Cathedral of Catania is a majestic structure belonging to the Norman and Baroque style of architecture.
The cathedral stands in the center of the old town on Piazza del Duomo, in close proximity to many other attractions of Catania.
Piazza del Duomo was built in 1078 on the site of ancient Roman baths. The cathedral has been rebuilt many times due to earthquakes that often take the region by surprise. The facade of the gray stone building is decorated with decorative statues of saints, and a massive dome rises on the eastern side of the building.
Inside, you will find many interesting details: amazing frescoes on the main altar, decorative paintings and paintings, as well as the tomb of the famous composer Bellini.
Address: Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata VM, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, Catania, Italy.
In Sicily, you can find several interesting castles at once, which serve as a reminder of the periods of conquest, when the island passed from the hands of one ruler to another.
Ursino Castle was built in the 12th century by Emperor Frederick II, the then king of the Kingdom of Sicily. It is still in excellent condition – all four towers and walls are intact and have no visible damage. In addition, next to the castle you will find the remains of the old outer walls.
Here you can take a walk and take picturesque selfies, after which you should definitely visit the city museum, which is located right on the castle grounds.
Address: Castello Ursino, Piazza Federico di Svevia, Catania, Italy.
Catania is actually in the shadow of the huge Mount Etna and this active stratovolcano is one of Sicily’s top tourist attractions.
At 3,329 meters, Etna is currently the highest active volcano in Europe. The last eruption occurred in 2015, when the volcano even spewed lava.
Arriving in Catania, you will not be able to deny yourself the pleasure of climbing Mount Etna and seeing its gaping caldera with your own eyes.
Various tour operators offer a wide variety of day trips to the volcano: you can go there on foot, ride a bike or even rent a quad bike or jeep. The choice is yours.
On a clear day, the view from the top of Etna over Sicily and its landscapes is simply incredible.
Address: Mount Etna, Adrano, Catania, Italy.
Monastery of the Benedictines
The Benedictine monastery is located in the center of Catania and is one of the most important and largest buildings of its kind in all of Europe. No wonder this stunning piece of architecture, built in 1558, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The complex is an interesting structure that combines many different styles: you can easily see the difference in the design of the marble cloister, the Red Room and the Basilica of San Nicola.
Try to climb to the top of the dome of the monastery, because from here you can enjoy a gorgeous panoramic view of the city. Be sure to check out the building’s façade with its decorative stucco windows, and take a stroll through the cloisters to take pictures of their picturesque arches and fountains.
Address: Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicolò L’ Arena, Piazza Dante Alighieri, Catania, Italy.
Piazza del Duomo
Being the main square of Catania, Piazza del Duomo has a lot to offer tourists.
The square is located in the very center of the city, not far from the port area, so it is an extremely popular meeting place for locals and numerous tourists. If you wish, you can always ask the locals what to see in Catania for the sake of interest.
In the center of the square is the impressive Elephant Fountain, not far from it are the Amnano Fountain, Catania Cathedral and the Elephant Palace. All this definitely deserves your attention.
In addition, here you can always relax and have a bite to eat in one of the many street cafes with a wonderful view of the square.
Piazza del Duomo is a great starting point for walking tours of Catania, as most of the city’s key sights can be easily reached on foot from here.
Address: Piazza Duomo, Piazza Duomo, Catania, Italy.
The City Museum of Catania, located on the territory of Ursino Castle, has collected for its visitors many ancient relics and artifacts that tell about the history of the city and the region.
The museum houses an extensive collection of exhibits, which was originally housed in the Biscari Museum and was once considered one of the most valuable in Europe.
The collection contains a wide variety of exhibits, including Hellenistic and Roman sculptures, porcelain, ceramics, mosaics, ancient weapons and other finds found on the island.
In addition, on the second floor of the museum, you can see a collection of paintings from the 15th-18th centuries.
Address: Museo Civico al Castello Ursino, Piazza Federico di Svevia, Catania, Catania, Italy.
San Nicolò L’Arena
The Church of San Nicolò L’Arena, located behind the monastery of St. Nicholas, was built on the site of a Greek acropolis – even a few ancient columns flaunt on the front facade.
In fact, it is the largest church in Sicily and one of the most intricate in terms of design – its facade was never finished, so the building looks rather strange and ominous. Ancient Greek columns do not in the least complement the appearance of the church, so its general style cannot be called anything other than “ridiculous”. Inside, everything is much more harmonious: a lot of strict columns, arches and classical stucco.
Address: Chiesa di San Nicolò l’arena, Piazza Dante Alighieri, Catania, Italy.
There are several Roman theaters in Sicily. All of them are in excellent condition, and the theater in Catania, built already in the second century AD, is no exception.
Conveniently located between the Benedictine monastery and the cathedral, the theater is a must-see when exploring the city’s historic centre.
On the western side, a small annex, the odeon, adjoins the main building. The stands and a number of other sections of the theater are actually made of lava taken from Mount Etna. This building is still in excellent condition.
Address: Teatro Romano, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, Catania, Italy.
Arc de Triomphe Gate of Giuseppe Garibaldi
Described by many as one of the most striking structures in Catania, this monumental gate was built in 1768 in honor of King Ferdinand IV and his wife Maria Carolina.
The arch, designed and built by Francesco Battaglia and Stefano Ittar, now bears the name of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man who played a crucial role in the unification of Italy in the 19th century.
The gates are made of black and white stone, which form a characteristic bright contrast. At the top, you can see stone and marble statues proudly towering over the arch. This magnificence is crowned by a huge clock and a coat of arms with an eagle.
Address: Porta Ferdinandea, Piazza Palestro, Catania, Italy.
Villa Bellini Park and Masters Park
The Villa Bellini Park and the Parque des Masters are located in the city centre, west of Piazza Carlo Alberto. These are great places to relax and connect with nature.
In the eastern part of the park are the Bellini Gardens with picturesque fountains, flower beds and cozy gazebos set among a variety of exotic trees and plants.
In the Masters Park you will have the opportunity to walk along quiet hiking trails surrounded by a picturesque forest.
Address: Giardino Bellini, Via Etnea, Catania, Italy.
If you drive about 10 miles north of Catania along the coast, you will come to a charming village called Aci Castello. This village developed around a castle built in 1076 during the Norman conquests of Sicily.
The castle is the main attraction of this place. It is located on a rock near the village and faces the sea.
The castle is a cult place for this part of Sicily. You can freely explore its territory and climb to the top of the fortress walls, from where a fantastic view of the sea and surroundings opens up.
Address: Aci Castello, Catania, Italy.
The Botanical Garden of Catania is located on the campus of the university in the immediate vicinity of Bellini Park in the center of the old city.
If you are looking for a place where you can quietly walk, expand your knowledge of botany and just enjoy nature, then this is the place for you! The botanical garden has a fantastic collection of trees, shrubs and exotic plant species from all over the world.
The gardens are well organized, so it is very pleasant to walk here at any time of the day.
Address: Orto Botanico di Catania, Via Etnea, Catania, Italy.
San Giovanni Lee Cuti
This beach is a real natural phenomenon, because its coast is strewn with volcanic sand and ash. San Giovanni Li Cuti is located on the east coast of Sicily, near Via Zoccolanti. This is a great place to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of the city.
In the northern part of the beach there is a small harbor with a lot of old wooden fishing boats that still serve the locals faithfully. Behind the harbor you can find several cozy bars and restaurants.
The beach has wooden deck sections with sun loungers so you can relax, breathe in the sea air and enjoy the beauties of the volcanic beach.
Address: Via San Giovanni Li Cuti, Catania, Catania, Italy.
Lido Azzurro beach
Lido Azzurro is the longest beach in Catania. This is a great place for those who want to soak up the sun and have fun.
This fantastic beach is located about 15 minutes south of Catania near the port and harbour.
A beautiful golden spit of soft sand stretches for many kilometers ahead, and the warm Mediterranean Sea gently hugs the gently sloping coast.
There are plenty of sun loungers and umbrellas on the beach, so you can always lie back, have a cocktail and enjoy the wonderful weather of this region.
In addition, there is a separate children’s play area with slides and slides, as well as several beach bars and shops where you can grab a bite to eat or buy popular products.
Address: Lido Azzurro, Litoranea Kennedy, Catania, Italy.
Street dei Crociferi
This magnificent street, stretching between the Roman theater and the Villa Bellini park, is one of the main arteries of the city.
In addition to many wonderful historical buildings, Via dei Crociferi has four pretty churches – the Church of St. Francesco Borgia, the Church of San Benedetto, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the Church of San Julian.
Each building has its own unique design and architectural highlight. In addition, you can also see the arch of San Benedetto and the old Jesuit monastery. It makes sense to combine a visit to this street with a trip to the Roman theater.
Address: Via Crociferi, Catania, Italy.