Catania is a city of 310,000 people (2019) 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.
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 centre 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.
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.
Catania has a hot summer-mediterranean climate with long hot, dry summers and short, mild winters. Summer experiences a pronounced aridity with a strong prevalence of stable, sunny conditions whereas winter presents more interchangeable weather. Temperatures of 35°C are usual in summer and temperatures in winter generally revolve around 17°C during the day. Springs and autumns enjoy warm day temperatures, ranging from 20°C in March to 31°C in September.
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- 1 Bureau Turismo, via Vittorio Emanuele II, 172, ☏ , toll-free: 800 841 042, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 08:00-19:15, Su 08:30-13:30. The Tourist Bureau of the city.
- 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.
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.
- 1 Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA IATA Vincenzo Bellini Airport), ☏ . 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 (☏ ; M-Sa 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.
The simplest way to reach central Catania is on the Alibus, ☏ , 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, cash or credit card, 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.
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 and 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), ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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.
- SAIS Autolinee, 181 Via D'Amico, ☏ . These run from city and airport to Enna (6 per day, 75 min), Messina (hourly, 2 hr) and Palermo (hourly, 2 hr 30 min). At Messina they connect with buses by Giuntabus Trasporti to Milazzo, the ferry port for the Aeolian Islands.
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); 2 trains a weekday run the scenic inland route to Caltagirone (1 hr 30 min) and then with the replacement bus to Gela (1 hr more) (as of Feb 2020).
- 3 [dead link] 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 the informatik kiosk in front of the building; open daily 08:00-13:00 & 15:00-19:00. The next Left Luggage service is 500 m away at Atripical, Piazza Duca di Genova, 6; open daily 09:00-19:00.
There are two small stations to the north, Catania Europa and Catania Ognina. Visitors are unlikely to use them. To the south, there is the stop "Catania Aeroporto Fontanarossa", by which the airport can be reached via a short walk or a shuttlebus.
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.
Catania has a compact centre and it is most convenient just to walk around.
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).
Ferrovia Circumetnea (FCE) 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 M-Sa 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 Circumetnea 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.
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.
World Heritage Sites
- 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. There are three buildings here that are World Heritage Sites. The square is also an entrance to the elegant via Etnea, the main shopping street.
- 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.
- 3 Museo Diocesano (Diocesan Museum), Via Etnea 8, ☏ . M W F 09:00-14:00; Tu Th 9:00-14:00, 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. Its ticket office also sells tickets to the Terme Achilliane. €7; combined ticked incl. museum, Terme Achilliane, Benedictine Monastery €13.
- 4 Palazzo degli Elefanti (Palazzo Municipale) (on the north side of Piazza del Duomo). Construction begin in 1996. In 1736 a statue of an elephant carrying an obelisk was erected in front of the palazzo.
- 5 Palazzo dei Chierici (Palace of Clerks).
- 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.
- 7 Castello Ursino (Castello Svevo di Catania), Piazza Federico Di Svevia, ☏ . Daily 09:00-19:00 (last admission 18:00). It was built in the 13th century as a royal castle of the Kingdom of Sicily, and ilater became the seat of the Sicilian Parliament. It hosts the Museo Civico (civic museum), which displays Greek and Roman artifacts from the city; art from the 17th-19th centuries; 2000 bronze figurines from the Archaic, Siceliot, Greek, Etruscan-Italic and Hellenistic eras; and temporary exhibitions. Adult €6, youth or senior €3.
- 8 Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena (The Benedictine Monastery), Piazza Dante, 32, ☏ . M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 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. Free entrance, guided tour €8, which starts daily around 13:00 and hourly during summer.
- 9 Chiesa di San Nicolò l'Arena, Piazza Dante (adjacent to the Benedictine Monastery), ☏ . Daily 09:00-12:30. It is an unachieved church which was supposed to be the biggest one in Sicily. Free entrance; visit to the eaves €3.
- 10 Via Crociferi. It's a centre of an ecclesiastical architecture in Catania: in no more than 200 m there are 4 churches, 3 monasteries and a college.
- 11 Monastero di San Benedetto (entrance from via Teatro Greco, 2), ☏ . Tu F Su 10:00-17:00. A splendid baroque monument. €5 (guided tours only).
- 12 Chiesa di San Francesco Borgia, Via Crociferi, 17, ☏ . 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.
- 13 Chiesa di San Giuliano, Via Crociferi, 36, ☏ .
- 14 Villa Cerami, Via Cerami (at the norther end of the Via Crociferi). A Baroque villa. It hosts Faculty of Law of the University.
- 15 Basilica Maria Santissima dell'Elemosina (Basilica della Collegiata), Via Etnea 23. Tu-Su 09:00-12:00, 17:00-19:00. Free admission.
- 16 Palazzo Biscari, Via Museo Biscari, 10 - 16, ☏ , email@example.com. 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.
Ancient Roman and Greek
- 17 Teatro Romano e Odeon (Roman Theatre and Odeon), Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 266, ☏ . Daily 09:00-19:00, last entry 18:30. The theatre dates back to the 1st century CE 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 century CE. €6; 1st Su/month free (09:00-17:00).
- 18 Terme della Rotonda (Rotonda Thermal Baths), Via della Rotonda, ☏ . W Su 09:00-13:00. The remains of ancient Roman baths. Free admission.
- 19 Anfiteatro Romano (Roman Amphitheatre), Piazza Stesicoro, ☏ . Tu-Sa 09:00-13:30, 14:30-17:00. Some modest remains amidst the square. Free admission.
- 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 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.
Other notable attractions
- 21 Teatro Massimo Bellini, Piazza Vincenzo Bellini, ☏ . A 19th-century opera theatre named after the Catania-born composer Vincenzo Bellini. The square before the theatre is a popular meeting place among the local young people, so its neighbourhood is very lively and busy by night.
- 22 Palazzo dell'Università, Piazza Università.
- 23 Palazzo Della Cultura (ex Convento S.Placido, aka Palazzo Platamone), Via Vittorio Emanuele 121, ☏ . 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, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 09:00-13:00. It is the birthplace of Vincenzo Bellini. Thete are two museums here. €5.
- 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.
- 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.
Parks and gardens
- 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.
- 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), ☏ . 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.
- 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 - ☏ 500 Vintage Tour - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Website:
- EtnaWay, ☏ , email@example.com. Guided excursions on mount Etna, with transfer from Catania, Giarre or Taormina by jeep and 4x4. Visit of summit craters and most beautiful places of the volcano.
- Federico II (School of Italian language and culture), via Garibaldi 9 (first building on via Garibaldi, close to the Amenano fountain in piazza Duomo), ☏ . The school is hosted in a Baroque building 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.
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.
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 salata (salty ricotta) 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).
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 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, ☏ . 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.
- 3 Camelot, 73 Piazza Federico di Svevia (near Castello Ursino). Okay for the meat lover, fish is from frozen.
- 4 [dead link] Cool Food, Via Antonino di San Giuliano, 242 (Corner Via Manzoni), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M closed, Tu-F 16:00-02:00, Sa Su 16:00-00:00. Restaurant and pinseria (old-style home-made pizzeria). Great atmosphere, good bar with Italian and international drinks, excellent snacks and cakes.
- [dead link] Trattoria Il Mare, 7 Via San Michele, ☏ . Delicious seafood. Casual atmosphere. Tu-Su 12:30-15:00, 19:30-23:00.
- 5 L'Angolo dello Chef, 21 Via Grimaldi (corner of Via Plebiscito). Humble home cooking joint. Traditional Sicilian dishes from caponata to polli alla brace.
- 6 Dopo Teatro, Via Coppola 4, ☏ . Open 7 days, 19:30 till very late. Panineria with tables. Known for grilled meats.
- 7 Sicilia in Bocca alla Marina, Via Beato Cardinale G.B. Dusmet, 35, ☏ . 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.
- 8 Trattoria di Fiore, 26 Via Pietro Antonio Coppola, ☏ . Closed Monday. Classic Sicilian food in a small family trattoria.
- 9 Trattoria da Antonio, Via Castello Ursino 59, ☏ . Lunch Tu-Su; dinner daily 19:00-00:00. Reasonably priced fresh seafood.
- [dead link] Al Cavalier Roxy, 51 Piazza Federico di Svevia, ☏ . Daily lunch, dinner 19:30-00:00. Sicilian cuisine.
- 10 Trattoria U Fucularu, 20 Via Euplio Reina, ☏ . closed Tuesday. Antipasto buffet, grilled meats.
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).
- Agora Hostel, 6 Piazza Curro, ☏ , email@example.com. In a backstreet under the Duomo, it's lively and can fill up even out of season. Beds in a dorm rooms from €14.
- Ananda B&B, Via Muscatello 7 (Near Piazza Roma), ☏ . B&B in the centre, walking distance from the Bellini Gardens, Via Etnea and the Market. €30.
- 1 Suite Inn Catania (BMoDe), Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 108 (central), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 11:00. Clean & central b&b. €45.
- 2 B&B Opera, Via Antonio di Sangiuliano, 129 (Catania centre), ☏ , email@example.com. 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 Etnea 316, ☏ , fax: . Bright and airy 3-star guest house ideal for young travellers. €35.
- [dead link] Hotel Valentino, 39 Piazza Turi Ferro, ☏ . Central 3-star hotel with friendly staff and a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere. €75 double.
- BAD: Bed and Breakfast and Design, Via Cristoforo Colombo 24 (near Duomo), ☏ . Simple hostel, striving to be funky. €45.
- [formerly dead link] Hotel Rigel, 8 Viale della Liberta, ☏ , fax: . Clean and comfortable 3-star hotel very near bus station. €45.
- Hotel Villa Romeo, 8 Via Platamonte, ☏ , fax: . 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), ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: till 11:00. An antique building that has been 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
- Agriturismo San Leonardello, 165 Via Madonna della Liberta, San Leonardello (On SS114 20 km north of Catania), ☏ . Rustic farmhouse off highway close to Etna, Taormina and the beach resorts of Riposto and Acireale.
- La Pietra Antica O Munti, Via Andronico, Puntalazzo (Off SP 155 in mountain village above Giarre, 40 km north of Catania), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Farm accommodation on flanks of Etna.
- Agriturismo Arrigo, C.da Arrigo Soprano, Linguaglossa (50 km north of Catania. Follow SS120 to Linguaglossa then SP 59 iv, signs for Hotel Neri), ☏ , fax: . Farmhouse on flanks of Etna.
- Villa Etelka, 5 Via Prof Enrico Sagone, Valverde (Valverde is 20 km north of Catania), ☏ . Villa with sea view and swimming pool.
Mid-range to high
- Hotel Agathae, 229 Via Etnae (on main drag through town), ☏ , fax: . 3-star accommodation
- [dead link] Gresi Hotel, 28 Via Pacini (off Via Etnea close to post office), ☏ , email@example.com. Clean, AC, bathroom, balcony, high arched ceilings with paintings. €75 without breakfast.
- The Parco degli Aragonesi, Viale Kennedy, on beach (☏ NH hotels in Catania. ) and the Catania Centro, 13 Piazza Trento, downtown (☏ ), are the two
- Hotel il Principe, 24 Via Alessi, ☏ , fax: . Boutique hotel in a restored aristocratic building, very central near Cathedral.
- Hotel La Ville, Via Monteverdi, 15 (very central near railway station), ☏ , fax: . 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), ☏ , fax: . Modern 4-star beach hotel with open air swimming pool, restaurants, health spa and meeting facilities. For families and corporate travellers.
- Luxury Hotel Romano Palace, Viale Kennedy 28 (on coast 2 km south of downtown), ☏ . Beach resort, very close to airport, with Jacuzzi, private beach and restaurant.
- Four Points by Sheraton Catania, Via Antonello da Messina 45, Cannizzaro (on coast 4 km east of downtown), ☏ . 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), ☏ . The hotel is in an elegant early 19th-century building edge of town. Clean & quiet, good if you're touring with your own car.
- Grande Albergo Maugeri, 27 Piazza Garibaldi, Acireale (Acireale is 15 km N of Catania), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Eco Hostel, Via Fornai 44 (near Ursino Castle), ☏ . A modern hostel. From 24€.
Catania is the safest major city in Sicily, even during the night as there are a lot of students and people around throughout the city centre.
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. However using common sense is more than enough the avoid all problems.
You may encounter some people asking for money. Just ignore them and say "Non ho niente, mi dispiace" (I don't have anything (=money), I'm sorry).
As in any other city avoid the station area, especially 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 at night. Another dangerous neighborhood is Librino, but of no interest for a tourist.
- 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.
- 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 [dead link] buses (50 min).
- Further afield by public transport you can day-trip to Taormina and Syracuse. With your own car you can day-trip to Modica and Ragusa, Piazza Armerina, Enna, Militello in Val di Catania, Caltagirone, and Agrigento.
- 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.