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If you decide to explore the sights of Catania on your own, without hiring a guide, develop a sightseeing route in advance. Use our review: we will tell you about what every tourist should see in Catania.
What to see in Catania in the first place?
Compiling the rating “the most interesting places in Catania”, we took into account reviews and recommendations of experienced guides and travelers. In our common opinion, the following excursions in Catania deserve your attention, first of all:
1. Mount Etna
Mount Etna and the city of Catania in the foreground on the east coast of Sicily BenAveling
A natural site that is included in all lists of “the main attractions of Italy.” You can climb its slopes on foot. Guides in Catania will tell you how to do this and accompany you by jeep or cable car. By organizing a trip on your own, you will not have to pay for the inspection of the craters. At the bottom of the volcano there are souvenir shops selling products from Etna's lava. Note that the same material was used to create many buildings and residential buildings in the city.
2. Cathedral Square
The famous Elephant Fountain on Cathedral Square in Catania Luca Aless
If you do not know what to see in Catania in 1 day, come to the main town square. D. B. Vaccarini himself worked on the creation of Piazza del Duomo. On the territory there is the Elephant Fountain and the main town hall of Catania, created in the 18th century, as well as the Cathedral and the Port of Ujoda. Your trip will be unforgettable if you visit the square at night. In the evening and at night, the lights are on, painting each building in its own colors.
3. Fish Market
Seafood at the popular Fish Market in Catania jim
Sea urchins and other fresh seafood at the Catania Fish Market
After looking at the sights of Catania, go shopping. At the city fish market you will find any fish from the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, as well as octopuses, squids, shrimps of various sizes and any other “sea reptiles”. In addition, there are meats, spirits, fruits and vegetables, cheeses and olives on the shelves. You won't have a question about where to go in Catania for the freshest products.
4. Via Etnea
Historic buildings in the Sicilian Baroque style on Via Etnea in Catania Luca Aless
The main street of the central part of Catania, equipped in the 17th century. Beautiful baroque buildings, temples and commercial buildings stretch along each side of the alley, paved with hardened lava stones.
5. Via Crociferi
Ancient Catholic churches along Via Crociferi in Catania Urban~commonswiki
This alley is also adorned with ancient temples and buildings with a rich history. Most of the buildings belong to the 17th century and are also made in the Baroque style. Just like all of Catania, Sicily is proud of Via Crociferi, calling it “the pearl of Sicilian architecture”.
Check out the beautiful places of Catania in this wonderful video!
6. St. Agatha Cathedral
Facade of the Cathedral of St. Agatha on the Cathedral Square Elio Bonanno
The relics of St. Agates and graves of the most famous personalities of Italy – the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily, and later the state, Cardinal Dusmet, the legendary architect V. Bellini. The facade of the cathedral is decorated with beautiful sculptures and expensive marble slabs. At the entrance there are many boards depicting scenes from the life of St. Agatha.
7. St. Nicholas Church
The unfinished building of the church of St. Nicholas in the historic center of Catania Nicolò Arena
The largest religious building in Sicily, which has a rather unusual appearance. The church began to receive parishioners in the 17th century, but in the same century it was almost completely destroyed by Etna. The main “highlights” of the attraction are its facade and colonnade, not destroyed by the earthquake. The luxurious interior decoration deserves attention as well. It is recommended to see these best sights in Catania with a guide.
8. Church of San Benedetto
18th century Church of St. Benedetto Gerry Labrijn
One of the main architectural values of Christians, the construction of which began in the 17th century and continued for a decade. At some point, the building became the property of the urban community of the Benedictines. The facade of the church, its balustrades, colonnades and stairs, demonstrate the beauty of the Baroque style. Under the vault of the building there is a unique painting of the middle of the 18th century, applied by D. Tukkari. According to local beliefs, it is from this temple that one can reach the monastery of St. Nicholas.
9. Collegiate Basilica
Statues of St. Peter, Paul, Agatha, Apollonia on the facade of the Church of Cosal
Another historical and architectural monument in the Baroque style. The façade of the basilica looks especially impressive. The columns of the first row are decorated with a magnificent balustrade, on the next level there is a huge window, further – the figures of the great martyrs, including the sculpture of the patroness of the city of St. Agates. On the upper level there is a bell tower with beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from the lives of saints and the Mother of God.
10. Benedictine Monastery
The territory of the former Benedictine monastery in Catania MonasteroBenedettini1CT.JPG
The object is under the protection of UNESCO. The date of construction of the religious masterpiece is 1355 (in the 18th century the building was subjected to a large-scale restoration). One of the main symbols of Catania is the arch, which is part of the complex of this monastery. According to local residents and guides, it took the clergy only one night to create the temple. Now there is a museum inside, among the exhibits of which are the best works of modern art. Visitors to the sights will be able to view the ancient halls restored to their original appearance, as well as see the ancient Roman domus found during archaeological excavations under the building.
11. Roman Amphitheater
Roman amphitheater of Catania from Piazza Stesikoro AnfiteatroRomanoCT.JPG
Date of construction – the second century, construction materials – brick and stone from solidified lava. You can visit the amphitheater, located on the outskirts of the city and designed to receive 150,000 guests at the same time, completely free of charge. At a certain time, having lost its original purpose, the amphitheater turned into a quarry. At the end of the 17th century, it was razed to the ground by an earthquake. During excavations, it was discovered only in the 19th century.
The ruins of the Roman theater and the Odeon among modern buildings in Catania
Roman Odeon (rehearsal theater) 2nd – 3rd century AD. in Catania Archeo
If you do not know what to visit in Catania, come to the central part of the city. There is a Roman theater with an auditorium for 7,000 guests. The diameter of the building of the first century AD is over a hundred meters. The capacity of the Odeon, added to the theater in the future, is one and a half thousand people. In the 6th century, the structures fell into disrepair. In the Middle Ages, decor, blocks and walls began to be dismantled for the construction of a church. The construction of streets near the theater and the Odeon put an end to the destruction of the complex.
13. Museum of the landing of allied troops in Sicily
Exposition of the Historical Museum of the Landing of the Allied Forces in Sicily
The museum complex was opened in memory of how Sicily was conquered in 1943 and then liberated from Mussolini's regime. Among the exhibits are items that tell about wartime and the course of the operation itself: archives, weapons of the two armies, uniforms of soldiers, photographs, etc.
14. House-Museum of Giovanni Verga
Surviving personal belongings of the Italian writer Giovanni Verga in the museum in Catania Inviaggiocommons
The building where the famous writer once lived, who worked in his own style of “verismo”. The creators of the museum were able to preserve and recreate the atmosphere that was in the house during the life of D. Verga. Part of the furniture was brought from the writer's apartment in Milan.
15. Diocesan Museum
The Diocesan Museum of Catania in the building of the seminary of the clergy in Catania Luca Aless
The museum expositions contain a large number of the most valuable relics of Christianity. The subjects of the exhibitions are clothes, sculptural compositions, art canvases. The atmosphere of the museum is very special: even pieces of furniture here have a history dating back centuries. The restored building of the Diocesan Museum, built in 1965, and its numerous decorations deserve close attention. If you are passionate about history and architecture, you should definitely visit the majestic building.
16. Massimo Bellini Theater
Fountain in front of Massimo Bellini Opera House in Catania Louisvhn
The idea of creating its own opera stage in the city came to the authorities of Catania at the beginning of the 19th century. But construction work began only in 1890. The first opera to be performed here was Norma. The theater building is made in the Baroque style. There is a statue of Bellini in the front foyer, and the ceiling in the main hall is painted with scenes from the most famous works of the maestro.
17. Pupi Fratelli Napoli Museum and Theater
Traditional Sicilian puppets in Pupi Fratelli Napoli Theater Museum in Catania Lucarelli
Puppet show with puppets at the Pupi Fratelli Theater Napoli Bjs
An original puppet theater made famous at the beginning of the 20th century. The first productions were devoted to knightly tournaments. Modern themes of Opera dei pupi are much more extensive. Many hotels in Catania, as well as private guides, will offer you a ticket to the puppet theater.
18. Toy Museum
An old doll from the unique collection of the Toy Museum
The attraction is located in the center of Catania, not far from the main town square. The complex began its work in 2002. The exposition presents toys of various types and sizes, collected from all over Sicily.
19. Ursino Castle
Powerful walls and towers of Ursino Castle in Catania Luca Aless
The palace of the 12th century, which now houses an art gallery and a museum of the history of the city. The list of exhibits presented here includes ceramics, sculptures, ancient weapons and ancient mosaics, paintings and other artifacts. You should allocate a whole day to study all the samples of artistic culture and history.
20. Palazzo Biscari
The main hall (Festival Hall) in the Rococo style with mirrors, stucco and frescoes at Palazzo Biscari Rabe!
Luxurious palace built in the 18th century. Many of the most famous masters of the time worked on the creation of the building, including Battaglia and Benedetto. The architectural style of the building is frilly and opulent rococo. Both in the exterior and in the interiors, there are many chic decorative details, originally designed to indicate the well-being of the Biscari family.
Catania attractions: what else to visit in Catania?
We told you about the main attractions of Catania briefly. If you have already traveled through the hospitable Sicilian city and seen them, visit places such as:
21. Botanical Garden
Collection of succulent plants in the Botanical Garden of the University of Catania Esculapio
The landmark is owned by the city university. The date of improvement of the territory is the 19th century. The area of the botanical garden is divided into several zones. In the first part you will see the flora of Sicily, including dozens of exotic palms and over 2,000 plants, in the second – green spaces brought from different parts of the Earth. In good weather, not only tourists, but also locals like to relax here.
22. Villa Bellini Park
Panorama of the ancient park “Villa Bellini” popular among locals and tourists of Catania
The complex is located on several mountain peaks, united by stairs and alleys. You should visit it for leisurely walks among numerous exotic trees and flowers, original sculptures, artificial ponds and noisy fountains.
23. San Giovanni Li Cuti Beach
Rocky and rocky beach of San Giovanni Li Cuti in Catania
A rocky strip created by the solidified magma of Etna. The entrance to the water is difficult with stones (a special descent is installed only in the tourist season), so it is not recommended to come here with children for swimming. Beach infrastructure is not developed. Quite a secluded area, which is famous for its picturesque views and magnificent nature.
24. Lido Azzurro Beach
View of the sandy beach of Lido Azzurro or Côte d'Azur on a sunny Sicilian day
Well-maintained beach line with paid and free services and entertainment. According to the locals, Azzurra is the best beach of the entire coast. On a large square there are playgrounds for children and adults, small cafes overlooking the sea and souvenir shops.
25. Etnaland Amusement Park
Etnaland Amusement Park » in the open air on the island of Sicily Orazio2004Mascali
A huge entertainment center located at the foot of a volcano and an extensive shopping area. A relatively new complex is recommended to visit the whole family. On the territory there is a dino park with “real” moving and growling dinosaurs and a water park with all kinds of water attractions. In addition, guests of “Etnaland” can visit incredibly colorful laser shows.
Official website: https://etnaland.eu
We hope that you will want to personally see those sights of Catania, photos with names and descriptions that we have just talked about. Read also about the sights of Rimini and be inspired to travel further in Italy.