Holidays to Catania sort you out with a triple whammy – natural sights, unique architecture and a hefty helping of history.
You’ll find Catania pinned to Sicily’s east coast. It’s the island’s second biggest city, and with a postcode that plonks it in the shadow of Mount Etna, it’s got tonnes to offer sightseers. This place is as authentic as they come. A higgledy-piggledy appearance and graffiti-speckled streets give the city a gritty feel. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll uncover Insta-worthy spots by the bucketload.
The grey city
Catania’s city centre’s a maze of narrow, cobbled streets and roomy, open squares. After a massive earthquake in 1693, a lot of the centre was rebuilt from lava and limestone, so it’s a grey-and-white colour scheme all round. Speaking of squares, Piazza Duomo’s the pick of the bunch. Here, you’ve got the Baroque-style Catania Cathedral, the Diocesan Museum and the city hall to ogle.
A blast from the past
The use of lava as a building material is old news around here – some of Catania’s most famous structures date all the way back to Roman times. The Roman Theatre is worth an eyeball – it was constructed in the first century, and its crumbling ruins sit right in the city centre. History buffs can gawp at Castello Ursino, too – a 13th-century castle that once watched over the seafront.
With a spot just down the road from Mount Etna, it’s no surprise that Catania’s a popular haunt for volcano-explorers. And no matter how adventurous – or not so adventurous – you are, there are loads of ways to enjoy the sights of this UNESCO-stamped natural wonder. Hop on a buggy and zip past rivers of glowing red lava, hike up to craggy craters, or glug wine at a vineyard on the fertile slopes.