Catania is one of the pearls of Sicily. The city, which it rises halfway between the Etna volcano and the sea, has always had a special charm that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Perhaps it will be its unique architecture, which makes it a hybrid city between an artistic destination and a seaside city, or the use of lava stone to build many of the buildings that characterize it, or the air that you breathe in its streets. Catania is a jewel to be discovered.
Here are the 10 things to see absolutely in Catania.
- Old Town
- Piazza Duomo
- Church of Sant'Agata (Cathedral of Catania)
- Via Etna
- Teatro Massimo Vincenzo Bellini
- Via dei Crociferi
- Benedictine monastery
- The fish store
- Palazzo Biscari
- Castello Ursino
- User questions and comments
1 - Historic Center
Large, full of monuments characterized by the construction with lava stone, it is an unforgettable place for a trip. The churches are the main ones, but the Old Town is also full of markets, such as the one on Monday which has now become a real institution, in addition to the museums and buildings which, fortunately, have been used for other uses thus avoiding to end up in oblivion.
- buses 432, 449, 536, 902, stop near the center. The central station is about 1,5 km, about 15 minutes on foot and 6 minutes by car - Get directions
- always open
2 - Piazza Duomo
Piazza Duomo is one of the most famous places in Catania. Here stands the elephant statue, the symbol of the city which, according to legend, would protect it from the eruptions of Etna.
The fountain that you will see in Piazza Duomo takes its name from the magician and necromancer Eliodoro, who according to legend was riding the elephant on his way to Constantinople.
The shape of the square that you will see now, however, dates back to 1736 even if it incorporates elements of different ages such as the elephant itself. An example among all are the trunk and the tusks, restored after the earthquake of 1693.
In addition to the elephant statue, in Piazza Duomo you can also see the Palace of the Elephants, which today houses the Town Hall, the Palazzo dei Chierici and the Cathedral, a sight not to be missed.
- Buses 556, 830, 927 stop near the square. The Central Station is 1,4 km away, about 17 minutes on foot and 6 minutes by car - Get directions
- always open
3 - Church of Sant'Agata (Catania Cathedral)
The Church of Sant'Agata is the cathedral of the city. Rebuilt several times during the centuries in which the city was the victim of earthquakes and eruptions, it was built on what remained of ancient Roman baths. There is talk of a period prior to 1070, of which only the apse remains today. In fact, the rest of the church has been completely rebuilt. Its facade, the work of Vaccarini, was made of Carrara marble while the columns come from the ancient Roman theater of Catania.
Inside, in addition to the chapel dedicated to Sant'Agata where her relics are still preserved today, you will also find the tomb of Vincenzo Bellini.
- Buses 556, 830, 927 stop near the church. The Central Station is 1,4 km away, about 17 minutes on foot and 6 minutes by car - Get directions
- lun-dom 8:00-12:00 / 15:00-18:00
4 - Via Etnea
Via Etnea is certainly one of the most important streets in Catania. 3 km long, it starts right from Piazza Duomo and is structured in such a way as to always have an excellent view of Mount Etna.
Via Etnea is the shopping street and the "stroll". Hugely loved by the people of Catania, who populate it at any time of day and evening, as the tradition of the seaside city dictates, it is full of baroque palaces which date back to after 1693, the date on which the city was destroyed by an earthquake.
- Buses 449, 536, 722, 744 stop near via Etnea. The Central Station is 2,1 km away, about 28 minutes on foot and 10 minutes by car - Get directions
- always open
5 - Massimo Vincenzo Bellini Theater
It is a majestic building, which today includes an orchestra of 105 elements and a choir of 84. Today, unfortunately, only a small part of the entire building can be seen, which includes a hall with four tiers of boxes and a richly decorated.
The ceiling, on the other hand, is frescoed with images of the Norma, the most famous work of Bellini, the Sonnambula, I Puritani and the Mirata. The curtain instead retorts the "Victory of the Catania over the Libyans".
- Buses 429, 449 stop near the Theater. The Central Station is 1 km away, about 14 minutes on foot and 7 minutes by car - Get directions
- Tue-Thu 9: 00-12: 00
- Full € 6,00, reduced € 4,00
6 - Via dei Crociferi
Via dei Crociferi is a very special street, since in about 200 meters it collects 4 churches. Here you can see the Church of San Benedetto with its characteristic staircase of the Angel, the Church of San Francesco Borgia and the Jesuit college, without forgetting the Church of San Giuliano.
To understand more or less the importance of this place just think that it is part of the Unesco World Heritage Sites.
- Buses 429, 504M, 642, 902 stop near Via Crociferi. The Central Station is 1,5 km away, about 20 minutes on foot and 8 minutes by car - Get directions
- always open
7 - Benedictine Monastery
The Benedictine Monastery of Catania is one of the largest monastic complexes in Europe. 500 years old, today it houses the Department of Human Sciences of the University of Catania. The Monastery, however, in the past, in addition to a place of refuge for Benedictine monks, was also the site of a barracks and a school. This site, which has become part of the World Heritage Site, preserves inside wonders such as the hanging garden and even a Roman domus.
- Buses 431N, 503, 726, 830, 902, 932 stop near Piazza Dante Alighieri. The Central Station is 1,8 km away, about 25 minutes on foot and 8 minutes by car - Get directions
- Mon-Sun 9: 00-17: 00. In August from 11:00 to 18:00
- Full € 7,00, reduced € 2,00
8 - The Fish Market
It is one of the markets of Catania, perhaps the most impressive. La Pescheria is located a stone's throw from Piazza Duomo and is the city's fish market. There are no entrance tickets, such as fixed times: the market is there as long as there are people and there is fresh fish to sell. If you have never seen a Sicilian market you should visit it. The colors, the "screams" of fishermen trying to win over customers, and even the "smells" will become part of an unforgettable experience.
- Buses 556, 830, 927 stop near the market. The Central Station is 1,5 km away, about 18 minutes on foot and 6 minutes by car - Get directions
- early in the morning
9 - Palazzo Biscari
Palazzo Biscari is undoubtedly one of the buildings that best describe Catania. Luxurious, elegant, it is the emblem of the opulence that Catania has seen in past centuries. Do not miss its frescoes that adorn the ceilings, the omnipresent decorations on the walls and the ballroom that will take you back in time. In its rooms very important personalities have been hosted, including Goethe.
One part of the palace can still be visited, while another is not accessible today since it hosts the Municipal Offices of Catania.
- Buses 429, 522, 556 stop near the building. The Central Station is 1,1 km away, about 14 minutes on foot and 5 minutes by car - Get directions
- Mon-Sun 7: 00-13: 00/15: 00-19: 00
10 - Ursino Castle
Built by Frederick II of Swabia in the th century, the Ursino Castle is one of the most important buildings in the city. Of Norman origin, during the Sicilian vespers it was the seat of the Parliament and then became the residence of the Aragonese kings. Today it is the seat of the Civic Museum of Catania, and collects in its 3 floors finds of inestimable value, among which there seems to be a nail used during the Crucifixion of Jesus. In addition, in the square where the castle stands, various cultural events take place
- Buses 2-5, 431R, 504, 556 stop near the castle. The Central Station is 1,8 km away, about 23 minutes on foot and 17 minutes by car - Get directions
- Mon- Sun 9: 00-19: 00
- Full € 6,00, reduced € 3,00