Welcome to Catania
Catania is the second largest city of Sicily after Palermo. It overlooks the Ionian Sea with one of the most glimmering coasts of the entire island, where you can admire the alluring beaches of Lido Azzurro, Lido Verde and Le Capannine. The later is the ideal place to enjoy the vibrant summer of Catania, with hotels, bars, restaurants and dancing nights on the beach.
The city stands at the foot of Mount Etna (another must see attraction). For this reason, it is regarded as the magical place where the sea and the sky meet under the watchful eye of the mountain. However, Etna has been simultaneously the fortune and the disgrace of Catania. Indeed, violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptIons destroyed this territory several times over the centuries.
The most destructive earthquake occurred in 1693. In that year, the seismic shocks made the city collapse along with the entire Noto Valley. Maybe you don’t know that Catania stands just in the heart of Noto Valley, amid a crossway that includes the baroque cites of Noto, Ragusa and Syracuse. Fortunately, after that awful earthquake, thanks to the courage of its inhabitants, Catania returned to a new life with the construction of many palaces and churches with a baroque style. Their external facades were and are still so showy that the city has been even added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
What to see and do
There are many things to do in Catania. I suggest that you visit the legendary Porta Uzeda, one of the brightest symbols of the Spanish domination in Sicily. That is the entrance way which connects Duomo Square to Dusmet Street, in the baroque district of Catania.
From there, you can admire the archiepiscopal palace and the Cathedral of Saint Agatha. You can go through Porta Uzeda from Etnea Street, namely the main road of Catania, also known as the shopping street. While you are there, don’t stop only in the stores you came across, but make a stop to Carlo Alberto Square, where, every Monday, there is the so called “a fera o luni” (The fair of Monday). That is the most ancient local market of the city along with the Pescheria. There, you can enjoy wonderful stalls with the best local products of Catania, such as bags, bijoux and accessories.
At the Pescheria, instead, you can buy, cook and eat the delicious fish coming from scenic Ognina harbour. During your tour from Etnea Street, you’ll also arrive in the mysterious Stesicoro Square. This square
contains the Roman amphitheater and the ruins of an ancient city buried underneath the same Catania. The buried city is called “the city under the city”. That is an underground tunnel where you can also get lost without a tourist guide.