What to see in Catania in one day

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Catania is one of the main cities of the Sicily. Located on the eastern side of the island, it represents a true artistic and "natural" miracle. Founded in 729 by the Calcidesi of Naxos, it became the capital of Kingdom of Sicily during the Aragonese dominion and, in 1434, the seat of the oldest university on the island. Its geographical position, halfway between theEtna and the sea, was the reason for natural disasters which, however, did not succeed in destroying the city: during its history, in fact, Catania was hit by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes (the most serious in 1169 and 1693) which, however, did not prevent it from be one of the most important cultural centers of the island, so much so that theUNESCO declared its historic center a World Heritage Site.
Get ready to be surprised by its black buildings, made with lava stone from Etna, to walk with the scent of the sea, food and spices that wander in the air. The city offers its visitors numerous attractions ranging from art with its museums to shopping on via Etnea, up to leisure on the hottest days thanks to the sea. Although it is difficult to visit it all in one day, we try this itinerary designed especially for you.


  1. One day itinerary in Catania: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Catania: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Catania: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Catania: Morning

1- Proserpina Fountain, Palazzo Rosa

The day in Catania starts from Piazza Giovanni XIII and from the Central Station. From here, walk along Via VI Aprile and you will immediately see the Proserpina Fountain. Built in 1904 by Giulio Moschetti, it is a monumental structure to say the least, which depicts the abduction of Proserpina which, according to legend, took place near Lake Pergusa. A little further on you will find the Pink Palace of Catania, one of the most original buildings that you can find in this city. This elegant palace was built in the early 1900s on a project by the engineer Fabio Majorana. After this beautiful walk near the sea it will be time to do breakfast: try the Caffe Costa: here you can find all kinds of sweets for an excellent breakfast without having to faint (we are still within € 5,00)

2- Bonajuto Chapel, Palace of Culture and Church of San Placido

Now take Via Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the most famous streets of Catania. From here you will arrive in a few minutes on foot to the Bonajuto Chapel, dating back to the 2th century AD. Located inside the Bonajuto palace, it is meters below street level. Despite the Byzantine appeal of its structure, inside you can also see medieval and fifteenth-century remains. Proceed now on Via Vittorio Emanuele II until you reach the Palace of Culture, a gigantic architectural complex born on the ruins of the convent of San Placido, near the Church of San Placido which rises a short distance from there. Rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 in late Baroque style, this church is almost an exception among the buildings of Catania: where the palaces are made with black lava stone, this church has a white stone facade.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,5 km / 20 min
  • places visited: Proserpina Fountain (free), Palazzo Rosa (free), Bonajuto Chapel (€ 3,00 approximately), Palace of Culture (free, paid exhibitions), Church of San Placido (free)
  • Guided tour of Catania
  • where to have breakfast: Costa Coffee, Via Signore Ritrovato 1/3

One day itinerary in Catania: Afternoon

1- Palazzo Biscari

Small detour on Via Porticello to Via Museo Biscari, where you can have lunch at Canni and Pisci for about € 30,00 per person. A little further on you will find Palazzo Biscari, the most important private palace in the city. Wanted by the Paternò Castello family, princes of Biscari at the end of the seventeenth century, it was built exactly on the walls of Catania. Inside you can visit the richly decorated rooms, among which we point out the "ballroom" in Rococo style, full of mirrors and frescoes. Curious note: he also arrived in this palace Goethe, during his trip to Italy in 1787.

2- Diocesan Museum, Catania Cathedral, Piazza Stesicoro, Roman Amphitheater, Roman Theater and Castello Ursino Civic Museum

Leaving Palazzo Biscari continue on Via Cardinale Dusmet along the Pacini garden and then cut onto Via Pardo: you will find yourself in front of the Diocesan Museum of Catania, the Fountain of the Amenara and, going a little further, the Piazza del Duomo, where the Cathedral of Sant'Agata. Dedicated to the patron saint of Catania, it has been rebuilt several times after the earthquakes that hit the city. Built in the second half of the year 1000 by the Romans on the initiative of the Ruggero coast, it was then repaired in 1169 following the first earthquake, then a fire and the second earthquake of 1693, which almost completely destroyed it. A little further on you will also find the Palace of the Elephants (now the seat of the Municipality), in front of which you will find the statue of the Elephant, symbol of Catania. Now take via Etnea, Catania's shopping street, which will lead you to Catania Cathedral. From here, by cutting onto Via Antonio di Sangiuliano you will arrive in Stesicoro square in about 10 minutes. It is one of the most important squares in the city, where the commemorative statue dedicated to Vincenzo Bellini stands. From this square you can easily reach the Monday fair, the historic market of Catania. Going east you will immediately arrive at the ruins of Roman amphitheater of Catania, of which today only a small part of the original building is visible, dating back to the nd century.
From here, take via Alessandro Manzoni until you cross via Vittorio Emanuele II again. Here you will find Greek-Roman Archaeological Park of Catania with his Roman Theatre and at the birthplace of Giovanni Verga. Continue on this road until you reach Piazza Federico di Svevia, where the Ursino Castle Civic Museum. Inside you can admire the head of an ephebe from the th century BC, a statue of Hercules and some mosaics and fragments of the city theater. There is also a collection of numusmatics and a Greek crater depicting Perseus in the act of beheading the Gorgon.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,3 km / 29 min
  • places visited: Palazzo Biscari (free), Diocesan Museum (€ 10,00 approximately), Piazza Duomo (free), Cathedral of Sant'Agata (€ 2,00 approximately), Piazza Stesicoro (free), Roman Amphitheater (free), Roman Theater (free), Castello Ursino Civic Museum (free)
  • Segway tour of Catania
  • where to have lunch: Canni e Pisci, Via Museo Biscari 8

One day itinerary in Catania: Evening

Dinner and Old Customs

for price a stone's throw from the Castello Ursino Civic Museum is the Trattoria Da Antonio (about € 30,00). Here you can dine before completing your day in Catania with a nice walk along the seafront or, if you're lucky, with one of the many events that Castello Ursino hosts. The coastal area in the evening becomes a unique spectacle: there is no corner that is not illuminated, giving those who visit Catania a very special play of light and shadow. You could head to the port and the Old Customs, not far from there, or enter the historic center of Catania again. In any case, you will not regret your choice.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,1 km / 13 min
  • places visited: Old Customs (free)
  • where to dine: From Antonio, via Castello Ursino 59

Before leaving: useful tips

Before leaving for Catania you will need some useful tips to make sure you don't run into any problems. We will not talk about passes to visit the city, because Catania must be discovered slowly, almost by chance. In every corner there is something to see, so let's focus on more.

  • Catania is very hot, avoid visiting it in the summer months
  • In the historic center you can only proceed on foot
  • Catania airport is located almost inside the city
  • If you decide to extend your visit, take a look at our offers for a hotel stay

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

Some attractions were not included due to time problems. It's already complicated to see everything you have on your schedule, adding other things would be too much. Here are the attractions to give up during a day trip to Catania.

  1. Benedictine monastery: it is a place too far from the rest of our activities
  2. Piazza Carlo Alberto market: if you are not sure of your itinerary, it is better to avoid the markets and concentrate on "quieter" activities
  3. Puppet Museum and Theater: this place is located on the outskirts and getting there would be really difficult
  4. Etna: even if close, Etna is definitely not to be visited if you have a day available to visit Catania

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