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Catania, Sicily’s second city, with a fate bounded forever to the mighty Mount Etna! It’s no secret that Catania holds a large part of Sicily’s treasures. Those of you searching for cheap air tickets to Catania should already know what they are about to discover – and what everybody else is missing! One of the world’s most lively cities, Catania reflects the authentic Sicilian atmosphere and spirit, attributes that distinguish neighbourhoods and locals from any other part of Italy. Though a city of Italy formally, Catania is like nothing Italian you have ever seen before. Cheap accommodation in Catania is easy to be found; just pick a hotel, book your tickets, take your camera with you, and get ready for a trip to remember!
Catania is Sicily’s second largest city, with a population of 300,000. With Mount Etna looming over the horizon in the west and the sunny Mediterranean dominating the east, Catania is a city founded by the Greeks as a colony of Magna Graecia.
The Greeks were succeeded by the Carthaginians, then by the Romans and the Normans, until it was annexed in the unified Italy, in 1861. All these different nations, religions and conquerors left their mark on the city’s architecture, food, language and people.
Catania’s history is marked by something else though; Mount Etna drops its shadow on the city, constantly fuming and erupting, making the threat of a super explosion – like the one that destroyed the city in 1669 – something mundane and giving both Etna and Catania legendary fame around the globe!
Catania is now a top travel destination for those seeking to experience quality holidays, see famous historic landmarks and archaeological sites, swim in dreamy beaches and walk the “Etna trail”. Visit Catania for a once in a lifetime experience!
Catania’s international airport (Aeroporto di Catania-Fontanarossa Vincenzo Bellini) is located 4 kilometres southwest of the city and can be reached by airport buses.
Getting around Catania
You can get around Catania by train and bus. Fares start at 3.80€ and minimum taxi fare costs around 4.00€.
Begin your day in Catania at the city’s central square, Piazza del Duomo. The square is encircled by beautiful Baroque buildings and was recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The square is dominated by the famous statue “u Liotru” or “Fontana dell’ Elefante”, a fountain depicting an elephant bearing an Egyptian obelisk, visible as you approach the square. It’s all made out of volcanic material!
Don’t miss the Sant’Agata Cathedral, dedicated to Catania’s patron saint, Sant’ Agata.
If you’re a music fan, you will particularly enjoy the Museo Civico Belliniano, a museum that honours the famous Sicilian composer of the “Norma” opera and is considered to be one of Catania’s best museums.
Head west of the Piazza, to reach the Castello Ursino, dating back to the 13th century. Today it houses an art gallery with interesting artwork by notable Sicilian and Southern Italian artists.
Continue at Via Vittorio Emanuele, where you can enjoy some well-preserved Roman ruins, the best of which being the Roman Amphitheatre.
On your way, you will pass by the location of a former oil factory (Le Ciminiere). Make a stop to visit the Centro Culturale e Fieristico housed today in the factory premises, hosting interesting art, culture and multimedia exhibitions.
You cannot leave Catania without having the ultimate experience of climbing up the top of Mt. Etna! The volcano stands at a height of 3,350 metres and is accessible by buses, special 4X4 vehicles and cable cars, with or without a guide, depending on your fitness level, whether or not you wish to reach the top and the condition of the volcano at the time of visit; if it’s going through an eruption, access to the top is denied! Definitely an experience to remember!Italian is Catania’s official language, though the Sicilian dialect might confuse you a bit. Locals rarely speak English, but they’ll more than welcome to try and communicate with you in every possible way!