Renowned for being a seaside city, Catania offers the warmth of the Mediterranean climate and a rich and captivating history.
Capital of the Province of Catania, this picturesque seaside city, with wide boulevards and bustling markets, fascinating history and culture, welcomes visitors all year round thanks to its warm Mediterranean climate. Catania may be less well known than its neighbours to the north, but for the traveller looking for a quintessentially Italian experience, this city can’t be left off an itinerary.
A trip to Catania should start in the Piazza del Duomo – a large open square surrounded by Baroque buildings. The city centre was completely rebuilt after a devastating volcanic eruption in 1669 resulting in a peaceful, perfectly composed UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the centre of the piazza is the Fontana dell'Elefante – a monument consisting of an elephant (the city’s symbol) made from lava stone, and an Egyptian obelisk.
Just below the Piazza del Duomo is one of the most exciting fish markets in all of Sicily. This expansive, bustling market is packed with fishermen and fish sellers pushing their silvery catches onto an eager public. There’s also a food market with copious amounts of fresh vegetables, meat, and delicacies famous throughout Italy and the world.
Just North of Catania is Taormina, a picturesque medieval town with expansive views. Taormina boasts an impressive selection of restaurants and ice-cream shops. The town comes to life in the evening, with its floodlit façades and quaint shops, most of which remain open well into the late evening.
The imposing Volcano of Mount Etna – a still active Volcano that dominates the Sicilian skyline – is worthy of a day trip. Visitors with a car will be able to drive up and finish their trip on foot. However, a guided tour, possibly led by a volcanologist, will provide a more rewarding experience.
Catania’s culinary credentials are high. The city’s proximity to the sea and rich volcanic soils, contribute to a cuisine that’s known all over the country. For a true taste of Sicily, fly to Catania and try some savoury pastries from a tavola calda at one of the many bars and cafés or go to a trattoria to savour a wide array of freshly cooked dishes.