Download GPX file for this article
37.50000015.090278Map mag.png
Europe > Italy > Sicily > Catania (province) > Catania

Catania

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Catania is a city on the eastern coast of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna, the biggest volcano in Europe. It is the second largest city in Sicily with the metropolitan area reaching one million inhabitants, a major transport hub, economic centre and a university city where you will enjoy a busy downtown and an active nightlife. Catania is also well known for its particular baroque architecture and urban design (the downtown area is a World Heritage Site, along with all the Val di Noto area), consequences of the great earthquake of 1693 after which the city had to be rebuilt, like most of eastern Sicily.

Understand[edit]

U Liotru — the symbol of Catania — at the Piazza del Duomo

The city has a history dating back 2,700 years, dominated by several different cultures (Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, etc.) and was a rich commercial centre, mainly due to its port. Again, since the 1970s, the city economy is growing as the urban area and the suburbs, making Catania a large metropolitan centre, mainly between the volcano and the sea. Today, even if you can find there most of the biggest commercial centers in Europe (especially Etnapolis), the 17th-century downtown area is still the center of the day-to-day life.

Catania sits under the most major active volcano in Europe and has been destroyed many times in the past. As a result, Catania is a city where you can find a great variety of landscape and architecture, a lot of dirty buildings and also a lot of abandoned houses, especially in the mountains. However, since the city is a World Heritage Site, a lot of renovations have been made.

Today, you will feel in Catania a mix of nostalgia and joie de vivre, especially at night or during festivals.

Sicilian Baroque[edit]

The major feature of this city is its architecture, which is predominantly baroque.

The major characteristic of Baroque architectural is its theatricality. This style dominated Europe in the 17th century as a result of the reformation/counter-reformation where the statement given was one of grandeur. The preceding style was Renaissance, while the succeeding was Neoclassicism. The three major features are a near excessive amount of detail (statues, lots of gold, columns and pilasters, garlands and wreaths etc.), façades which are taller than the nave (to fool the viewer of the size) and frescoes often featuring trompe-l'œil.

Baroque from Catania has several unique features such as use of dark lava stone (basalt), the Bell in the façade itself and grotesque masks and putti.

Tourist information[edit]

  • Info point of the province of Catania at the via Etnea.
  • Catania Pass. The city of Catania promotes a tourist bundle which combines a transport pass for the city with some discounts to a handful of the city's museums. See yourself if you need one of them: Museo Civico "Castello Ursino", Museo Belliniano, Museo Emilio Greco, Museo Diocesano and Terme Achilliane are free, plus Monastero dei Benedettini is €4 instead of €7. Personal: 24 hr €12.50, 72 hr €16.50, 120 hr (5 days) €20.00.

Talk[edit]

Sicilian used to be the common language here for centuries, as the Sicilian culture is isolated on an island. Even in Catania, you will notice Italian and Sicilian (as Palermo, Catania has its own dialect) in some neighborhoods, especially in inner areas, while most people speak mainly Italian in the city center.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA IATA Vincenzo Bellini Airport), +39 095 723 9111. The airport is on the coast 5 km (3.1 mi) south of central Catania. There are frequent flights to Rome FCO; other domestic destinations include Bastia, Bologna, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Perugia, Pisa, Turin, Venice and Verona. International destinations (some seasonal) include Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest, Madrid, Malta (frequent), Manchester, Paris and Stuttgart. Arrivals: exit straight ahead for the Alibus stop and taxi rank. Turn right (east) through Arrivals hall for car hire desks, TIC (+39 095 723 96 82; Mon-Sat 08:00 to 19:15) and intercity buses & ticket booths. There's also a cafe, shop, currency exchange, ATMs and (handy, this) a pigeon trap. The airport hotel is 200 m north. Departures: airside is a large hall with shops and two cafes. The non-Schengen area (gates 19-22) is small: there's toilets and a shop but no cafes, so don't go through passport control until an hour or so before your departure. Catania–Fontanarossa Airport on Wikipedia Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (Q540273) on Wikidata

The simplest way to reach central Catania is on the Alibus, +39 095-7519111, toll-free: 800 018696. This bus runs daily 05:30 to 00:00, every 25 min. From the airport via sea-port to the railway station takes 25 min. Coming back allow 30 min, as from the railway station the bus makes a city centre loop before returning to the station roundabout. So if you see a red & blue Alibus standing at the station plaza, take it, otherwise go to the corner of Martiri della Liberta and Viale della Liberta, no marked bus-stop, just leap out waving as the bus approaches. €4 (available on board, valid 90 min. including urban bus lines).

Because the airport is so close, the inter-city buses running to Catania also call here, so you can usually get a direct connection: see listings below. Buses to nearby towns and villages (run by AST) mostly don't call here, so you'll have to go downtown to change. However the local buses to Donnalucata, Modica and Carlentini do call here, as the airport happens to be on the route. Buy bus tickets from the kiosks by the east exit of the Arrivals hall.

By bus[edit]

The transport hub of Catania is the big roundabout Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII (that's "Pope John 23rd" for non-Latins). The metro station is right here, as is the main railway station, and just north is the bus station 2 Stazione AST. The main bus terminal is S side of Via Archimede (corner with Viale della Liberta.) But there are no facilities here, and you need to buy your ticket from the ticket offices along Via D'Amico, a short block north. Coach parking lots sprawl over adjacent blocks but the only other active pick-up / drop-off areas are for some SAIS long-distance services, facing Via D'Amico.

The main bus companies running from here are:

  • A.S.T. (Azienda Siciliana Trasporti), +39 095 746 1096. These run from the city to nearby small towns including Acireale, Caltagirone, Carlentini, Grammichele, Lentini, Modica, Nicolosi for Mount Etna, and Siracusa. They don't run to Taormina.
  • Interbus (Etna Trasporti), Via D'Amico 187, +39 095 532 716. These run from city & airport to Taormina and Giardini Naxos (every couple of hours, 90 min), Messina (one per day, 4 hours), Ragusa (frequent, 2 hours) and Siracusa (frequent, 70 min). Also to Agira, Avola, Catenuova, Leonforte, Nicosia, Nissoria, Noto, Pachino, Portopalo, Priolo, and Regalbuto. Interbus is part of a conglomeration of Sicilian bus companies. Around Catania the main operator is Etna Trasporti, with blue buses.
  • SAIS Trasporti, Via D'Amico, 181, +39 095 536 168. These make overnight runs from city and airport to Bari (8 hr), Naples (9 hr), and Rome (10 hr). They also run frequent buses across Sicily via Caltanissetta and Canicattì to Agrigento.

By train[edit]

Trains run roughly hourly along the east coast via Taormina-Giardini to Messina (90 min to 2 hr). Three of these per day are direct services to Naples (7-8 hours) and Rome (10 hours), via the Straits ferry. Five trains per day run inland via Enna (1 hour) to Palermo (3 hours). 12 trains a day run south to Syracuse (one hour); two of these connect with onward trains to Pozzallo (2 hr 30 min). The scenic inland route to Caltagirone is suspended indefinitely for engineering works: a replacement bus runs once a day.

  • 3 Catania Centrale, Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII (10 minutes walk east from the city centre). Small cafe & tobacconist here. Wheelchair access to platforms 2-5 involves lumping over the tracks. The nearest Left Luggage service is 500 m away at Atripical, Piazza Duca di Genova, 6; open daily 09:00-19:00. Catania Centrale railway station on Wikipedia Catania Centrale railway station (Q1093710) on Wikidata

There are two small stations to the north, Catania Europa and Catania Ognina. Visitors are unlikely to use them. To the south, the railway runs very close to the airport terminal, but there isn't a stop.

By ferry[edit]

Most travellers from mainland Italy use the 20-minute shuttle between Villa San Giovanni and Messina; there are also frequent ferries from Reggio to Messina. A car ferry runs every night between Naples and Catania: it's run by TTT lines and takes 12 hours. Other ferries sail from the mainland to Palermo.

A car ferry runs twice a day between Pozzallo (90 km south of Catania) and Valletta, Malta. It's run by Virtu Ferries and takes one hour 45 min, return fare €80 low season rising to €160 mid-summer. Day-trips are possible from Malta every day, and from Sicily on Wednesday and Friday. On Friday, Saturday and Monday there's a connecting coach between Catania and Pozzallo. This is timed for day-trips from Malta, so if you want to day-trip from Sicily you need to make your own way to Pozzallo.

Get around[edit]

Ferrovia Circumetnea

By foot[edit]

Catania has a compact centre and it is most convenient just to walk around.

By bus[edit]

To reach outlying accommodation or the university, you'll need the bus, run by AMT (Azienda Metropolitana Trasporti Catania). Use their interactive map to find bus lines. Single €1 (valid 90 min), Bus+Alibus €4, Bus+Metro €1.20 (valid 120 min), Day pass €2.50 (bus only).

By train[edit]

Ferrovia Circumetnea (FCE) [2] is a narrow-gauge railway that loops around the west flanks of Etna then back to the coast and mainline at Giarre-Riposto, 28 km north of Catania. The terminus in Catania is Borgo, with a metro connection to Centrale railway station and downtown. Trains run from Catania Borgo Mon-Sat hourly, all as far as Paterno, most as far as Adrano, and eight per day reach Bronte and Randazzo (2 hours) where these south-side trains terminate. To complete the circuit, you change to the north-side train Randazzo-Linguaglossa-Giarre-Riposto, taking 70 min. There are 3 or 4 of these per day in summer but only one or two in winter. At Giarre the Circumetnea and mainline stations are side by side, with Circumetnea trains continuing for a final km to terminate at Riposto. There is no Sunday or public holiday service on the Circumetnea line.

Visitors to Catania are only likely to use the metro to reach the Circumetnae railway. It's possibly the shortest metro in the world, just under 9 km long, and it's run by the same company. The line starts from Stesicoro in midtown Catania, runs east to the transport hub of Giovanni XXIII, then turns west. Get off at Borgo for the Circumetnea railway. The metro line ends at the suburb of Nesima, which has Park & Ride. The metro runs M-Sa 06:50-21:00 every 10-15 min; no service Sundays or public holidays. Single ticket €1 (valid 90 min), Bus+Metro €1.20 (valid 120 min), Day pass €2 (metro only).

An extension west from Nesima is under construction: it's expected to open as far as Fontana in Nov 2018, and Misterbianco in 2022. They also plan to extend south from Stesicoro to the airport.

Catania Metro

By car[edit]

Driving in the centre is difficult because of congestion, one-way systems and pedestrianised areas. There are ten main parking lots around the city, and a slew of others serving the airport. Park & Ride is available at the airport, and at Nesima metro station west of the city.

See[edit]

World Heritage Sites[edit]

Piazza del Duomo
  • 1 Piazza del Duomo. An attractive, lively baroque square. Here you can find the Fontana dell'Elefante (Elephant Fountain) or U Liotru - the symbol of the city. 3 building located there are World Heritage Sites. The square is also an entrance to the elegant via Etnea, the main shopping street. Piazza del Duomo, Catania on Wikipedia Piazza del Duomo (Q3382260) on Wikidata
Interior of the Duomo (Cattedrale Sant' Agata)
  • 2 Cattedrale di Sant'Agata (Duomo), Piazza del Duomo. M-Sa 07:00-12:00, 16:00-19:00; Su 07:30-12:00, 16:30-19:00. An imposing cathedral, well worth visiting. Also see for Terme Achilliane and Museo Diocesano which are located there. Catania Cathedral on Wikipedia Catania Cathedral (Q1499188) on Wikidata
  • 3 Museo Diocesano (Diocesan Museum), Via Etnea 8, +39 095 281635. M W F 09:00-14:00, Tu Th 09:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00, Sa 09:00-13:00. The collection of the museum contains various religious artefacts from the Cathedral and some other churches around. It's ticket office also sells tickets to the Terme Achilliane. €7; Museum, Terme Achilliane, Benedictine Monastery €12. (Q1954236) on Wikidata
  • 4 Palazzo degli Elefanti (Palazzo Municipale). Palazzo degli Elefanti on Wikipedia Palazzo degli Elefanti (Q1458838) on Wikidata
  • 5 Palazzo dei Chierici (Palace of Clerks). (Q3361181) on Wikidata
  • 6 Chiesa della Badia di Sant'Agata, Via Vittorio Emanuele 184. Guided tours to the dome and the terraces: Tu 09:00-12:00, W-Sa 09:30 -12:30, 15:30-17:30; Su 09:30-12:30, 19:00-20:30. €3. it:Chiesa della Badia di Sant'Agata on Wikipedia (Q1067599) on Wikidata
  • 7 Castello Ursino (Castello Svevo di Catania), Piazza Federico Di Svevia, +39 095 345830. 09:00-19:00 (last admission 18:00). A 13th-century castle near center. It hosts Museo civico (Civic Museum). €6. Castello Ursino on Wikipedia Castello Ursino (Q1048850) on Wikidata
  • 8 Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena (The Benedictine Monastery), Piazza Dante, 32, +39 095 7102767, e-mail: . M-F 08:00-20:00, Sa 08:00-14:00. Guided tours scheduled on hour 09:00-17:00 (Aug 11:00-18:00). It is the oldest one in Sicily and it is one of the biggest monasteries in Europe. It hosts now the Faculty of Literature of the University of Catania. €7. Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena on Wikipedia Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena (Q488863) on Wikidata
  • 9 Chiesa di San Nicolò l'Arena, Piazza Dante (adjacent to the Benedictine Monastery), +39 095 7159912. Daily 09:00-12:30. It is an unachieved church which was supposed to be the biggest one in Sicily. the church: free; Path Gronda €3. (Q3671516) on Wikidata
  • 10 Via Crociferi. It's a centre of an ecclesiastical architecture in Catania: in no more than 200 meters there are 4 churches, 3 monasteries and a college are located there. Via dei Crociferi (Catania) (Q4010794) on Wikidata
  • 11 Monastero di San Benedetto (entrance from via Teatro Greco, 2), +39 095 7152207. Tu F Su 10:00-17:00. A splendid baroque monument. €5 (guided tours only). San Benedetto, Catania on Wikipedia San Benedetto, Catania (Q1516573) on Wikidata
  • 12 Chiesa di San Francesco Borgia, Via Crociferi, 17, +39 095 310762. M-Sa 09:00-19:30, 1st Su/month 09:00-19:30, 3rd Su/month 09:00-13:30. Today the church used for various cultural events. Next to the church is a former Jesuit college. Free admission. it:Chiesa di San Francesco Borgia on Wikipedia San Francesco Borgia (Catania) (Q3670105) on Wikidata
  • 13 Chiesa di San Giuliano, Via Crociferi, 36, +39 095 7159360. (Q3582178) on Wikidata
  • 14 Villa Cerami, Via Cerami (at the norther end of the Via Crociferi). A Baroque villa. It hosts Faculty of Law of the University. it:Villa Cerami on Wikipedia (Q786597) on Wikidata
  • 15 Basilica Maria Santissima dell'Elemosina (Basilica della Collegiata), Via Etnea 23. Tu-Su 09:00-12:00, 17:00-19:00. Free admission. Basilica della Collegiata on Wikipedia Basilica della Collegiata (Q1109136) on Wikidata
  • 16 Palazzo Biscari, Via Museo Biscari, 10 - 16, +39 095 7152508, e-mail: . Daily 07:00-13.00, 15:00-19:00. It is one the most interesting baroque palaces in Catania. The palace is privately owned. Check with the tourist office to arrange a visit. Palazzo Biscari on Wikipedia Palazzo Biscari (Q1459750) on Wikidata
The old theater

Ancient Roman and Greek[edit]

  • 17 Teatro Romano e Odeon (Roman Theatre and Odeon), Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 266, +39 095 7150508. M-Sa 09:00-19:00; Su 09:00-13:30. The theatre is dating back to the 1st century when it was built on the remains of the Greek theatre it used to hold up to 7000 spectators. Odeon, a smaller theatrical building, was built next to it in the 2nd. €6; 1st Su/month free (09:00-17:00).
  • 18 Terme della Rotonda (Rotonda Thermal Baths), Via della Rotonda, +39 095 7150508. W Su 09:00-13:00. the remains of ancient Roman Baths. Free admission. (Q3984392) on Wikidata
  • 19 Anfiteatro Romano (Roman Amphitheatre), Piazza Stesicoro, +39 095 7472268. Tu-Sa 09:00-13:30, 14:30-17:00. Some modest remains amidst the square. Free admission. Roman amphitheatre of Catania (Q2844406) on Wikidata
  • 20 Terme Achilliane (Achillean Baths), Via Etnea 8 (check with the ticket office at the Museo Diocesano). M W F 09:00-14:00; Tu Th 09:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00; Sa Su 09:00-13:00;. The remains of a small part of a large ancient baths located underground is open for the public. It's located under the Catania's Cathedral square. Some parts of mosaics and marble floor as well as some remains of decorated walls. The remains are still quite impressive. €5. it:Terme Achilliane on Wikipedia (Q3984379) on Wikidata
Palazzo dell'Università

Other notable attractions[edit]

  • 21 Teatro Massimo Bellini, Piazza Vincenzo Bellini, +39 095 7306111. A 19th-century opera theatre named after the Catania-born composer Vincenzo Bellini. The square before the theatre is said to be a popular meeting place among the local young people, so its neighbourhood is very lively and busy by night. Teatro Massimo Bellini on Wikipedia Teatro Massimo Bellini (Q1429352) on Wikidata
  • 22 Palazzo dell'Università, Piazza Università. (Q3891414) on Wikidata
  • 23 Palazzo Della Cultura (ex Convento S.Placido, aka Palazzo Platamone), Via Vittorio Emanuele 121, +39 095 7428038. M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 09:00-13:30. A former monastery, it's now a venue for various exhibitions. It also hosts the access point, an information office of the municipal museums (M-Sa 09:00-13:00) Free admission.
  • 24 Palazzo Gravina-Cruyllas, Piazza San Francesco d'Assisi, 3, +39 095 7150535. M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 09:00-13:00. It is known to been the birthplace of Vincenzo Bellini. Two museums are located there. €5. it:Palazzo Gravina Cruyllas on Wikipedia (Q3890256) on Wikidata
  • 25 Quattro Canti (Four Corners). A square at the intersection of Via Etnea with Via di Sangiuliano. It is somewhat reminiscent to the other octagonal squares in Italy: Quattro Canti at the piazza Vigliena in Palermo, Quattro Canti in Paternò, and Quattro Fontane in Rome, next to the church of San Carlino by Francesco Borromini. Quattro Canti, Catania on Wikipedia Quattro Canti, Catania (Q610983) on Wikidata
  • 26 Porta Garibaldi (Porta Ferdinandea), Via Garibaldi (at the E end of Piazza Palestro). The gates erected in 1768 in honor of King Ferdinand IV and his family. Porta Giuseppe Garibaldi (Q2624890) on Wikidata

Parks and gardens[edit]

  • 27 Giardino Bellini (Villa Bellini) (NE of centre, multiple entrances). Always open. Charming 19th-century park. The oldest part of it, the Prince of Biscari's Maze or Laberinto Biscari, dates back to the 18th century. Giardino Bellini on Wikipedia Giardino Bellini (Q3763848) on Wikidata
  • 28 Orto Botanico dell'Università di Catania (Botanical garden), Via Etnea, 397 (just north of Villa Bellini; it backs onto other streets but you can only enter by V Etnea), +39 095 430901. M-F (winter) 09:00-17:00, (summer) 09:00-19:30; Sa 09:00-14:00. Small botanical garden of the University of Catania. Free admittance. Orto Botanico dell'Università di Catania on Wikipedia Orto Botanico dell'Università di Catania (Q3886275) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

  • 1 Via Etnea - Walk the main shopping avenue, running north from the Piazza del Duomo has most of the city's imposing building and is busy throughout the day and evening. Lots of churches. This road is the equivalent of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, so in the evenings the local people put on their Sunday clothes and walk at a relaxed pace along this avenue.
  • La Plaja, sandy beaches south of the city along the bay
  • The Riviera dei ciclopi, a rocky, volcano coast north of the city, stretching almost to Taormina
  • Visit a minor religious festival, but avoid Sant'Agata on the 5th February due to the excessive crowds.
  • A vintage self-drive excursion or a themed tour on a classic Fiat 500, starting from Catania or Taormina/Giardini Naxos. The most popular excursions are themed on the Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather movie and on the Etna Wines Road. You can reach villages like Savoca, Forza D’Agrò and Taormina. Contact 500 Vintage Tour - Classic car hire & tours - Taormina - Phone +39 3497234906 - Email: info@500vintagetour.com - Website: 500 Vintage Tour

Learn[edit]

  • Federico II (School of Italian language and culture), via Garibaldi 9 (first building on via Garibaldi, close to the Amenano fountain in piazza Duomo), +39 095 9890689. The school is hosted in a Baroque building located downtown. The school offers year-round intensive language courses, full immersion classes for all levels, while the afternoon provides a program of cultural activities to learn the culture and practice the language. The cultural themes of the lectures are: cinema, art history, songs and music, traditions and mythology, visits to museums and monuments, food and wine tasting. During the summer the school offers the Summer School program, which includes language classes in the morning, and in the afternoon a cooking class, a visit to a monument, and three sports or recreational activities, taking place in beach clubs having an agreement with the school. €170.

Buy[edit]

Pizzo means protection money extorted by the Mafia. Addiopizzo Catania is a movement of shopkeepers who refuse to pay - please support them by shopping in their stores. They also run educational and cultural outreach activities.

Every morning except Sundays, try haggling at:

  • 1 Fera 'o Luni, Piazza Carlo Alberto. M-Sa morning. A bustling food and clothes market. The main historic market of Catania.
  • 2 La Piscaria, Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto. M-Sa morning. A large fish, fruit & veg market just off Piazza Duomo.

Eat[edit]

Catania is proud of its specialities. A famous speciality is pasta alla Norma which consists in pasta (generally macaroni) dressed with tomato sauce and topped with fried eggplant slices, grated ricotta salad and fresh basil. The fish is also good, as Catania is a large port. The city is also known for horse meat, especially in some areas around the "Benedictine Monastery".

Typical Catanese pastry include the world-wide famous cannolo alla Ricotta, cassatella di Sant'Agata (a small cassata) and pasta di Mandorla (based on almond meal).

Fast food[edit]

Like in most of Sicily, you can get a freshly made cold panini in a salumeria, where you choose whatever you want to put in (prosciutto cotto/crudo and cheese are probably the most popular ones), for €1-3. Don’t forget that most of salumerias are closed 13:00-16:00 and on Sunday afternoon.

You can also have some tavola calda (“hot bite”) meal, most of them made with cheese and meat, fried or baked. You will normally pay €1.50 for one piece.

Another Sicilian speciality is arancino, which are deep fried rice balls with various fillings, meat or eggplant or spinach, that sell for €1.50 at most places. They make a good lunch snack.

Also, especially in the evening, some big kiosks sell hot, tasty and fat panini, some even even horse meat filling. Most people add fries into the sandwich. Usually, it’s about €2.50-3.00 and they are very popular among teenagers. Because its quite cheap, there is normally confusion at these kiosks.

In summer, a typical breakfast consists of "Granita" (a kind of sorbet of almond or black mulberry) served with a brioscia (sweet round small loaf): it is a nourishing and refreshing combination that can be found in almost any bar of the city.

  • 1 Spinella Pasticceria, 292 Via Etna, +39 095 327 247. Daily 07:30-22:30, Sa Su to 23:30. Sicilian cakes, cannolis, arancini, espresso. Outdoor seating.
  • 2 Etoile d'Or, Via Cardinale Dusmet 7/9. 24/7. Pasticceria open all hours.

Budget[edit]

  • 3 Camelot, 73 Piazza Federico di Svevia (near Castello Ursino). Okay for the meat lover, fish is from frozen.
  • 4 L'Angolo dello Chef, 21 Via Grimaldi (corner of Via Plebiscito). Humble home cooking joint. Traditional Sicilian dishes from caponata to polli alla brace.
  • 5 Dopo Teatro, Via Coppola 4, +39 349 435 4002. Open 7 days, 19:30 till very late. Panineria with tables. Known for grilled meats.
  • 6 Sicilia in Bocca alla Marina, Via Beato Cardinale G.B. Dusmet, 35, +39 095 2500208. Typical Sicilian food and pizza. There's another restaurant in town with this name: it's on Piazza Pietro Lupo but it's not recommended. And there's yet another 10 km north up the mountain.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 7 Trattoria di Fiore, 26 Via Pietro Antonio Coppola, +39 095 316 283. Closed Monday. Classic Sicilian food in a small family trattoria.
  • 9 Trattoria U Fucularu, 20 Via Euplio Reina, +39 393 385 5925. closed Tuesday. Antipasto buffet, grilled meats.

Drink[edit]

You'd find all kinds of kiosks in the city which sell various refreshments, such as coffee, limoncello or popular local drinks such as seltz al limone (soda water with fresh-squeezed lemon juice) or mandarino al limone (soda water with tangerine syrup and fresh-squeezed lemon juice).

  • [dead link] Barrique Club, Via S. Guliano, 242, +39 3206103478. Great atmosphere, good bar with Italian and international drinks, excellent snacks and cakes. At night live jazz and Sicilian music.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

In Catania[edit]

  • Ananda B&B, Via Muscatello 7 (Near Piazza Roma), +39 095 446 760. B&B in the centre, walking distance from the Bellini Gardens, Via Etnea and the Market. €30.
  • 2 B&B Opera, Via Antonio di Sangiuliano, 129 (Catania centre), +39 337 492 714, e-mail: . Check-in: 11:00-22:00, check-out: 10:30. Central b&b, rooms have balconies, bathroom, hairdryer, TV, air conditioning, minibar. Free Wi-Fi. €60-80 for double room.
  • Hotel Valentino, 39 Piazza Turi Ferro, +39 095 715 1712. Central 3-star hotel with friendly staff and a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. €75 double.
  • Hotel Rigel, 8 Viale della Liberta, +39 095 534 911, fax: +39 095 534 911. Clean and comfortable 3-star hotel very near bus station. €45.
  • Hotel Villa Romeo, 8 Via Platamonte, +39 095 534 714, fax: +39 095 530 257. Clean, comfortable 3-star hotel very near the railway & bus stations. €50.
  • 3 B&B Globetrotter Catania, Vicolo della Lanterna, 14 (200 m from Duomo), +39 095 281 802. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: till 11:00. An antique building that has been recently renovated. B&B (also rents independent apartments) with fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, DVD, HiFi, internet Wi-Fi and hairdryer. €30.

Around Catania and Etna[edit]

  • Agriturismo San Leonardello, 165 Via Madonna della Liberta, San Leonardello (On SS114 20 km north of Catania), +39 095 964 020. Rustic farmhouse off highway close to Etna, Taormina and the beach resorts of Riposto and Acireale.
  • Agriturismo Arrigo, C.da Arrigo Soprano, Linguaglossa (50 km north of Catania. Follow SS120 to Linguaglossa then SP 59 iv, signs for Hotel Neri), +39 095 643 612, fax: +39 095 777 4518. Farmhouse on flanks of Etna.
  • Villa Etelka, 5 Via Prof Enrico Sagone, Valverde (Valverde is 20 km north of Catania), +39 095 525 872. Villa with sea view and swimming pool.

Mid-range to high[edit]

  • Gresi Hotel, 28 Via Pacini (Off Via Etnea close to post office), +39 095 322 709, e-mail: . Clean, AC, bathroom, balcony, high arched ceilings with paintings. €75 without breakfast.
  • The Parco degli Aragonesi, Viale Kennedy, on beach (Tel. +39 095 723 4073) and the Catania Centro, 13 Piazza Trento, downtown (Tel. +39 095 316 933), are the two NH hotels in Catania [3].
  • Hotel il Principe, 24 Via Alessi, +39 095 250 0345, fax: +39 095 325799. Boutique hotel in a restored aristocratic building, very central near Cathedral.
  • Hotel La Ville, Via Monteverdi, 15 (very central near railway station), +39 095 746 5230, fax: +39 095 746 5189. One of the oldest hotels in Catania, it's a large 3-star family run establishment. Self catering apartments also available.
  • Hotel Nettuno, Viale Ruggero Di Lauria 121 (off coastal SS114 east of downtown), +39 095 712 2006, fax: +39 095 498 066. Modern 4-star beach hotel with open air swimming pool, restaurants, health spa and meeting facilities. For families and corporate travellers.
  • Four Points by Sheraton Catania, Via Antonello da Messina 45, Cannizzaro (on coast 4 km east of downtown), +39 095 711 4111. Hotel & conference centre with 162 rooms and 7 suites. With sea-water pool and beach access.
  • 4 Villa Cibele, 17B Via Francesco Marletta (Off Via Cibele 3 km west of centre), +39 095 351 480. The hotel is in an elegant early 19th-century building edge of town. Clean & quiet, good if you're touring with your own car.

Stay safe[edit]

Be careful not to look conspicuously touristy, exposing jewelry, large bags or photo gear that might entice fast pickpockets or robbers. They are abundant all around the city and they recognize immediately anyone who is not from around here.

Also, there will be A LOT of people that WILL stop you and aggressively ask you for money.

As in any other city avoid the station area, expecially at night.

San Cristoforo is the most dangerous neighborhood in Catania and is located near the city centre, at the end of Via Plebiscito. Do not wander the streets alone. Another dangerous neighborhood is Librino, but of no interest for a tourist.

Go next[edit]

  • Mount Etna is an eerie volcanic landscape, with a black terrain of pumice ash and rivers of solidified lava. The top is 3329 m high, so it's always cold, and if the city weather is iffy, then it will be beyond miserable up there. There is a daily bus service via Nicolosi to Rifugio Sapienza ("Etna Sud"), the usual approach to the summit. You need your own car to reach the northern approach at Piano Provenzana ("Etna Nord"). You can also explore the surrounding villages on the narrow gauge Circumetnea train, but you can't approach the summit that way.
  • The Riviera dei Ciclopi is a chain of three villages on the coast north-east of Catania. In Homer's legend, Odysseus / Ulysses landed here but a one-eyed giant trapped him and began eating his crew; Odysseus got the giant drunk, blinded him and escaped. The furious giant hurled rocks blind at the escaping ship, narrowly missing.
In Aci Castello see 29 Castello di Aci (Castello Normanno). Daily 09:00-13:00 plus winter 15:00-17:00, spring 15:00-19:00, summer 16:30-20:30. A medieval castle perched on a giant rock, right over the sea. Contains a small civic museum. 3 euro. Castello Normanno (Aci Castello) on Wikipedia Castello Normanno (Q2968035) on Wikidata
Aci Trezza is a little fishing port known for Isole dei Ciclopi — giant rocks offshore, supposedly those thrown by the Cyclops at Ulysses.
Acireale has a big carnival end of Jan to beginning of Feb. Riserva naturale orientata La Timpa is located along the rocky coast of the village. There are a few panoramic trails across the reserve - check their site.
Aci Castello and Aci Trezza are in a 30-min bus ride from Catania. Take AMT urban bus 534 (Catania – Acicastello) which starts from Piazza Borsellino or AST regional bus from Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII. For Acireale take either AST, Interbus or Zappalà & Torrisi buses (50 min).
To reach the north coast, the quickest way is to blat along the autostrada A18, or take the A19 past Enna. A more attractive route SS185 winds through the hills from Taormina, with views back over Etna, and through the picturesque medieval town of Novara di Sicilia. On the north coast either turn west for Palermo, or go a little way north to Milazzo the port for the Aeolian Islands, or turn east to the ferry port of Messina.


This city travel guide to Catania is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.