Catania is a city located 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 1970's, 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 old 17th century downtown area is still the center of the day-to-day life.
Catania is situated under the most major currently 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.
- 1 Bureau Turismo, via Vittorio Emanuele II, 172, ☎ , toll-free: 800 841 042, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 8:00-19:15, Su 8:30-13:30. 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: 24h €12,50, 72h €16,50, 120h (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.
- 2 Catania-Fontanarossa Airport (CTA IATA). Scheduled and charter planes are arriving from destinations throughout Italy and Europe.
- Tourist information counter (Ground floor, Arrivals area, east side), ☎ . M-Sa 08:00-19:15.
Shuttle bus to Catania:
- Alibus, ☎ , toll-free: 800 018696. AMT service connects the airport with the city centre. Buses are scheduled every 25 minutes. A trip takes about 20 minutes. €4 (available on board, valid 90 min. including urban bus lines).
Buses to other destinations:
- A.S.T., Via Luigi Sturzo, 220, ☎ . to Avola, Caltagirone, Carlentini, Grammichele, Ispica, Lentini, Mazzarrone, Mirabella Imbaccari, Modica, Noto, Palagonia, Piazza Armerina, Pozzallo, Rosolini, S. Michele di Ganzaria, Scicli, Sigonella.
- Interbus, ☎ . Via D'Amico 187. to Agira, Avola, Catenuova, Leonforte, Nicosia, Nissoria, Noto, Pachino, Portopalo, Priolo, Regalbuto, Siracusa
- Etna Trasporti, Via D'Amico, 181, ☎ . to Aidone, Fiumefreddo, Gela, Giardini Naxos, Recanati, Licata, Piazza Armerina, Ragusa, Marina di Ragusa, S. Croce Camerina, Taormina, Valguarnera, Vizzini.
- SAIS Trasporti, Via D'Amico, 181, ☎ . to Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Canicattì.
- SAIS Autolinee, Corso Sicilia, 20, Enna, ☎ . to Enna, Messina, Palermo
- Giuntabus Trasporti, Via Terranova, 8, Messina, ☎ . From Messina to the port of Milazzo with connections to the Aeolian Islands.This service meets corresponding SAIS Autolinee buses from Catania Airport to Messina.
A number of independent companies provide intercity bus services from Catania. Frequent buses run to Taormina, Messina, Enna, Caltanissetta, Ragusa and Syracuse. Less frequent buses run to local destinations, Naples, Rome etc.
- 3 Stazione AST. AST intercity bus hub is opposite the railway station and 10 minutes walk from the city centre.
Tickets can be bought from the 4 bar Terminal opposite the bus stop. Reportedly tickets could be also bought right from the AST office at the opposite side of the square.
- 5 Terminal Interbus - SAIS. M-Sa 05:45-20:30, Su 07:45-12:00 14:45-20:30.
There are handful of other companies have their bus lines running out of the city. Sometimes it's not that easy to find out which one you need. Then perhaps some 3rd party integrator is a good place to check with.
Frequent trains run up the east coast towards Messina, then on to Naples and Rome etc. Trains also run to Enna, Palermo (usually slower than the buses) and Syracuse. A scenic route runs inland to Caltagirone and Gela.
- 7 Catania Centrale, Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII (10 minutes walk east from the city centre). Left luggage service is not available.
Several Ferries run from mainland Italy to Catania. There is an overnight car Ferry that runs daily between Naples and Catania as well as ones from Genova and Civitavechia. One can also get a ferry to/from Valletta.
Catania has a compact centre and it is most convenient just to walk around.
- AMT (Azienda Metropolitana Trasporti Catania). runs orange local buses in the city. Single €1 (valid 90 min.), Bus+Alibus €4, Bus+Metro €1.20 (valid 120 min.), Day pass €2.50 (bus only).
It is said though that travelling by public transport may be quite problematic, as waiting time sometimes could be quite long.
Catania has probably one of the shortest proper metro system in the world. It run by Ferrovia Circumetnea (FCE).
- Metropolitana di Catania. M-Sa 06:50-21:00. The line starts from the Stesicoro station, located at in the centre of the city, from there it runs east towards Giovanni XXIII, with a connection to the central railway station, then it turns north-west and runs further until the Nesima station, its another terminus. At the Borgo station there is a connection with the Circumetnea, a narrow-gauge railway which runs around the Mount Etna. An extension of the metro will continue further west. NB: there is no service on Sundays and holidays. Single €1 (valid 90 min.), Bus+Metro €1.20 (valid 120 min.), Day pass €2 (metro only).
If you drive, you may have to put up with heavy, slow, messy, unruly traffic jams.
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. 3 building located there 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 7.00-12.00, 16.00-19.00; Su 7.30-12.00, 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 9:00-14:00, Tu Th 9:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00, Sa 9:00-13:00. 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.
- 4 Palazzo degli Elefanti (Palazzo Municipale).
- 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 9:00-12:00, W-Sa 9:30 -12:30, 15:30-17:30; Su 9:30-12:30, 19:00-20:30. €3.
- 7 Castello Ursino (Castello Svevo di Catania), Piazza Federico Di Svevia, ☎ . 9:00-19:00 (last admission 18:00). a 13th century castle near center. Currently it hosts Museo civico (Civic Museum). €6.
- 8 Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena (The Benedictine Monastery), Piazza Dante, 32, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Fr 8:00-20:00, Sa 8:00-14:00. Guided tours scheduled on hour 9:00-17:00 (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.
- 9 Chiesa di San Nicolò l'Arena, Piazza Dante (adjacent to the Benedictine Monastery), ☎ . M-Su 9:00-12:30. It is an unachieved church which was supposed to be the biggest one in Sicily. the church: free; Path Gronda €3.00;.
- 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.
- 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 9:00-19:30, 1st Su/month 9:00-19:30, 3rd Su/month 9:00-13:30. 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. Currently it hosts Faculty of Law of the University.
- 15 Basilica Maria Santissima dell'Elemosina (Basilica della Collegiata), Via Etnea 23. Tu-Su 9:00-12:00, 17:00-19:00. Free admission.
- 16 Palazzo Biscari, Via Museo Biscari, 10 - 16, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 7:00-13.00, 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, ☎ . M-Sa 9:00-19:00; Su 9:00-13:30. 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 (9.00-17.00).
- 18 Terme della Rotonda (Rotonda Thermal Baths), Via della Rotonda, ☎ . W Su 9:00-13:00. the remains of ancient Roman Baths. Free admission.
- 19 Anfiteatro Romano (Roman Amphitheatre), Piazza Stesicoro, ☎ . Tu-Sa 9:00-13:30, 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 9:00-14:00; Tu Th 9:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00; Sa Su 9:00-13:00;. 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.
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 said to be 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 9:00-19:00, Su 9:00-13:30. 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 9:00-13:00) Free admission.
- 24 Palazzo Gravina-Cruyllas, Piazza San Francesco d'Assisi, 3, ☎ . M-Sa 9:00-19:00, Su 9:00-13:00. It is known to been the birthplace of Vincenzo Bellini. Two museums are located there. €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). Relax at a beautiful 19th century park. The oldest part of it, known as Laberinto Biscari, dates even back to the 18th century.
- 28 Orto Botanico dell'Università di Catania (Botanical garden), Via Etnea, 397 (just north of the Villa Bellini), ☎ . M-F 9:00-19:30, Sa 9:00-14:00. A nice 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.
- 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 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.
The Addiopizzo Catania is a movement of shopkeepers who refuse to pay the racket to the Mafia. The Catania's consumers sustain them by going shopping in their stores.
Every morning,except Sundays, two fascinating markets are held:
- 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 market in a beautiful setting off Piazza Duomo. You could have to haggle the price.
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).
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 between 1-4PM 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, Via Etna 300, ☎ . Sicilian cakes, cannolis, arancini, espresso. Outdoor seating. $.
- Trattoria Il Mare, Via San Michele 11, ☎ . Delicious seafood. Casual atmosphere.
In the proximity of Ursino Castle, there is a good selection of restaurants. Good food quality and decent prices. Among the others are:
- 2 Camelot. is great for the meat lover, fish is OK, but frozen.
- 3 Da Antonio, Via Castello Ursino 59. Reasonably priced fresh seafood.
- Roxy has standard Sicilian/Italian food for a decent price with friendly staff.
- 4 L'Angolo dello Chef, 77 Via Plebiscito. Humble home cooking joint. Traditional Sicilian dishes from caponata to polli alla brace. Not for the posh, but great for lovers of street food.
- 5 Sicilia in Bocca alla Marina, Via Beato Cardinale G.B. Dusmet, 35, ☎ . To try typical Sicilian food and pizza. Beware that there are in fact two restaurants in the city with this name. The other one has very poor food quality, long waits, smoky outside section, and bad attitude towards foreigners (along with a different menu). When going to Sicilia in Bocca by taxi, be sure to specify the correct address.
- 6 Etoile d'Or, Via Dusmet 7/9. 24/7. Pasticceria open till late.
- 7 Dopo Teatro (Via Coppola 4). Panineria with tables. Known for grilled meats.
- 8 Trattoria di Fiore, Via Coppola, 22. Classic Sicilian food in a small family trattoria.
- 9 U Fucularu (Via Euplio Reina, 20). 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).
- [dead link]Barrique Club, Via S. Guliano, 242, ☎ . Great atmosphere, good bar with Italian and international drinks, excellent snacks and cakes. At night live jazz and Sicilian music.
- Agora Hostel, 6 Piazza Curro, ☎ , e-mail: 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 €18.
- 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 Bed and Breakfast SuiteInn Catania, Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 108 (In the heart of the historical center), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12.00, check-out: 11.00. Boasts a unique design environment and features spacious rooms equipped with amenities like TV, wifi, minibar, safe, private bathroom and air conditioning. € 45.
- 2 B&B Opera, Via Antonio di Sangiuliano, 129 (Catania centre), ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 11-22, check-out: 10.30. Bed and breakfast Opera is located in the heart of the historical centre, near some of the most important attractions of the city (Via Etnea, Piazza Duomo, Piazza Stesicoro, Piazza Teatro Massimo). The bb offers spacious rooms with balconies, private bathroom, hairdryer, TV, air conditioning, minibar. The wi-fi is free in the rooms and in common areas, such as the large sunny terrace, ideal for relaxing and having breakfast. double: min 60, max 80 (price for 2).
- City Lounge B&B, Via Gagliani 13, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the centre, in a building typical of the 1800s, the city lounge is an open and sunny place. A two minute walk to Piazza Duomo; with bus stop nearby for day-drips out of Catania. Rooms with either private or shared bathrooms, Wi-Fi, parking spot, breakfast included. Doubles available from 24 per person. Rooms able to sleep up to 6.
- Hotel Etnea 316, ☎ , fax: . Via Etnea 316. Bright and airy 3 star guest house ideal for young travellers.
- [dead link]Hotel Valentino, ☎ , fax: . Piazza Santo Spirito 39. 3 star hotel in the centre with friendly staff and a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere.
- Bed and Breakfast BAD, Via Cristoforo Colombo 24 (near Duomo), ☎ . BAD is the first designer Bed & Breakfast in Catania. Much more than a simple b&b, it is a unique mix of hospitality and creativity.
- [dead link]Hotel Villa Romeo, ☎ , fax: . Via Platamone 8. Elegant, exquisite and comfortable hotel near the railway station.
- 3 B&B Globetrotter Catania, Vicolo della Lanterna, 14 (close to Duomo square), ☎ , . Check-in: 12, check-out: till 11. An antique building that has been recently renovated. 200m from the Dome, cathedral and Via Etnea. Globetrotter rents independent apartments with fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, DVD, HiFi, internet Wifi and hairdryer. €30.
- Gianni House, Via Pergusa, 47 (just off the main street, on the left), ☎ . Close to the main bus and train station. A start-up hostel that offers a wide range of accommodation. Pasta parties are a regular in the summer, held on the fifth floor terrace, which offers a views of the sea (just five minutes' walk from the hostel). From €20 dorms, €23 privates.
Around Catania and Etna
- Agriturismo san leonardello. San Leonardello farmhouse is situated in the municipality of Giarre, in the province of Catania, a few-minute drive from Etna, Taormina and the sea of Riposto and Acireale.
- [dead link]La Pietra Antica O'Munti, Via Andronico s.n. - Fraz. Puntalazzo - 95010 Mascali CT, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Farm house La Pietra Antica O'Munti, between Taormina and Acireale, near volcano Etna. Farm holiday.
- Farmhouse Accommodation Arrigo, ☎ , fax: . C.da Arrigo Soprano Linguaglossa. At the slopes of Mount Etna surrounded by a striking and magnificent vegetation. In the silence of a land of strong and firm gastronomic traditions.
- Bed & Breakfast Villa Etelka, fax: . Via Sagone, 5 - Valverde (CT) Tel/. BB in aristocratic Villa sea view and swimming pool.
Mid-range to High
- Hotel Maugeri (Grande Albergo Maugeri), P.zza Garibaldi, 27-95024 Acireale (CT), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Agathae, ☎ , fax: . Via Etnea 229. 3 star accommodation on the main drag running through Catania.
- Gresi Hotel, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Via Pacini 28. Off Via Etnea close to the post office. Shiny clean, AC, bathroom, balcony, high arched ceilings with paintings. €75 without breakfast.
- Hotel il Picchio Golf Resort , Via Nazionale, S.S. 120, 135-95012 Rovittello, Castiglione di Sicilia. - Ph. +39 0942 986426 - Fax +39 0942 986323 . “Il Picchio Golf Resort” is immersed in the most fascinating scenery in Sicily, in the Alcantara Valley, a true oasis between Mount Etna and Catania. Double rooms from €140-220.
- The Parco degli Aragonesi, Viale Kennedy. Località La Playa, Tel. +39 095 7234073 and the Jolly Hotel Bellini, Piazza Trento, 13, Tel. +39 095 316933, are the two NH hotels in Catania .
- Hotel il Principe, ☎ , fax: . Via Alessi, 20/26. Hotel Il Principe, boutique hotel located in a recently restored aristocratic building in the baroque heart of the historical centre.
- Hotel La Ville, Via Monteverdi, 15, ☎ , fax: . One of the oldest hotels in Catania, this large 3 star family run establishment is well designed in a calming and refreshing liberty style and offers a homely welcome as well as business facilities. Self catering apartments also available.
- [dead link]Hotel Nettuno, Viale Ruggero Di Lauria 121, ☎ , fax: . Modern and spacious four star hotel on the beach of Catania with full facilities, including open air swimming pool, restaurants, health spa and full meeting facilities. Ideal for families as well as corporate.
- Luxury Hotel Romano Palace, Viale Kennedy 28. Beach resort few minutes away from Catania historical center, very close to airport, with Jacuzzi, private beach and restaurant.
- Sheraton Catania, Via Antonello da Messina 45, ☎ . Luxury hotel with 162 rooms and 7 suites, that can be reached through two charming and panoramic lifts, are coloured in perfect harmony with the surrounding Mediterranean environment; each room grants our clients the highest quality and safety standards according to the Sheraton life style: air-condition, balcony/terrace, cable TV, wake-up service, minibar, safe, hairdryer, smoke detector & sprinklers
- 4 Hotel Villa Cibele, Marletta st. 17/b (Cibele st. corner), ☎ . The hotel is in an elegant early 19th century building. The villa was restructured and has reached the old time majesty and elegance. In it the villa emerge the ancient and the modern following by a logical line of design and colours.
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.
- Mount Etna — an eerie volcanic landscape, with "rivers" of solidified lava. The top is 3,323 m high, so regardless of the summer heat at sea level, the summit will be cold, so make sure to have some worm clothing with you. There is a daily bus service to the Rifugio Sapienza (Nicolosi) at 1,400 m below the summit. Another option is to make a trip around the Mount Etna on a narrow gauge Circumetnea train.
Riviera dei Ciclopi
A chain of 3 villages just north-east of Catania along the coast:
- Aci Castello, where you could see
- 1 Castello di Aci (Castello Normanno). 09:00-12:00. A medieval castle at the top of a giant rock, right over the sea. Now there is a small civic museum.
- Aci Trezza is a little fisherman village well known for Isole dei Ciclopi — giant rocks lying in the sea, supposed to be the ones thrown by the Cyclops at Ulysses. There is also a small port with a few restaurants around it.
- Acireale claims to have one of the greatest carnivals in Sicilia (end of January - beginning of February). 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 1/2 hour 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).