Sicily is a destination that I have been keeping an eye on for a while because it has always been recommended to me for its sea and good food. As soon as I saw a good offer of Ryanair departing from Treviso and arriving in Catania at the price of 70€ round trip, I took it.
The base of my adventure was the Camplus Catania, a complex dedicated to university colleges but also to tourist facilities. I left the penultimate weekend of September 2019 for Catania.
Tips to visit Catania at its best:
The first advice is NOT to take the car.
This is because the guide does not follow the highway code and passing through the streets you see only ruined cars. So I would avoid getting angry and take public transport in Catania. Initially I was discouraged to use them mainly because the people of Catania kept telling me that public transport is there but you don’t know when it passes.
Instead, using the mode of travel with public transport of Google Maps I always found them punctual and I used the bus for transfers to and from the airport (the cost of the route from Airport to Center Catania using the Alibus is €4, instead if we compare the cost of the route with a taxi is €25).
The second advice is to avoid certain areas of Catania.
For example Via Plebiscito have strongly advised us not to go there because all the activities in the area are open 24 hours a day. And I stress that ALL activities are open, I hope you have understood.
The third advice is to fall into the gluttony.
Catania has exceeded my expectations and I had the opportunity to taste the typical dishes of the local cuisine. To find them I suggest you to go to the two pastry shops near Villa Bellini, Pasticceria Savia (top for the arancini) and Spinella (top for the cannoli, ask for them freshly made so the wafer is not wet with ricotta cheese) in via Etnea.
For dinner instead the Trattoria Achille to try the horse meat. You will notice that throughout the city is full of butcher shops with products on display in the street. And to try the fish instead I recommend the restaurant La Ruffiana Catania. The pistachio and almond are the masters and I suggest a slush strictly with brioches for the slipper in front of Massimo Bellini Theatre. From this trip I came back with 3 kg more but of happiness.
What do I have left to say? Visit her!
Catania is developed along Via Etnea that connects the city center given by Piazza del Duomo and Etna.
We can start our exploration from the Fountain of the Elephant symbol of Catania.
The elephant, also called Liotru, is said to have been built by the Catanese nobleman Eliodoro (around 700 A.D.) who was unable to become bishop of the city. Legend has it that the Devil asked him to deny his faith in exchange for magical powers. It was in this way that the nobleman built the elephant from the lava of Etna and on horseback of this magical creature rode around the city to play tricks on the inhabitants.
From this square you can visit the Cathedral of St. Agatha.
To the Saint of the city they have also dedicated the sweet type “le minne di Sant’Agata”. The history of St. Agatha dates back to the 3rd century when the edict of Emperor Decius asked all Christians to publicly abjure their faith and she, a noblewoman from Catania, never did so. For this reason, the young woman suffered martyrdom where her breasts were cut off. Hence the shape of the sweets and every year on February 5th the third most important religious feast in the world is organized in Catania to celebrate it.
In addition, at the side of the square you will find the Amenano Fountain where behind is the fish market. It is curious to find a street covered with colorful umbrellas, which mixed with the colors of the market makes the city an open-air picture.
Continuing along the Via Crociferi, Unesco World Heritage Site.
This road is so badly maintained that with difficulty you will understand that you are there and you will find several churches along the way (Church of San Francesco, Jesuit College, Benedictine Convent and the Church of San Giuliano).
You will arrive at Piazza Stesicoro where there is the ancient Roman amphitheatre that you can visit for free. Still following the Via Etna you will come across Villa Bellini, a huge park where you can walk and refresh yourself. The characteristic of the park is the presence of a floral calendar where every day they update the date by moving the plants.
From here finally a visit to the market “Fera ‘o Luni” in Piazza Carlo Alberto where you can be involved in the purchases of the inhabitants of Catania. This market was initially held only on Mondays, in recent years also during the week except Sundays.
Trip out of town – Naxos, Taormina and Castelmola Gardens
From Catania, you can reach the Giardini Naxos famous seaside resort where you can enjoy a bit of sea and sun. Then going uphill you reach Taormina.
Taormina is above sea level, above a hill and for this reason it is famous for its panorama overlooking the sea. To get there are the two paying car parks of Lumbi and Porta Catania, I arrived at the latter. The visit of Corso Umberto is worth for the shops of ceramics and typical products.
At the end of the Corso you arrive at Piazza IX Aprile and continuing to the right you can go and visit the Greek Theatre, known for concerts and political events. The entrance fee is €10 and there are several climbs but the Theatre is a real spectacle especially because from the top you can admire a beautiful sunset.
If you want to go on and move over the hill you can visit Castelmola, a medieval village built on a cliff to enjoy a wonderful view. Also here the pottery shops are typical and a mention should be made of the Bar Turrisi which has a very eccentric decor to discover.
Call me Claire recommends you to see this beautiful town at least once.