I started this article with the ambitious goal to suggest you what to see in Catania in one day and then I realized that maybe it’s not so important to share a detailed itinerary in the city. Because explain the city in a few words is difficult, you have to live it, dive into its streets, sit in its squares, tread its lava stone to understand Catania a little bit.
First of all before thinking about what to see in Catania you have to know that you’ll meet hospitable people that will open you the gates of their city. Before have a detailed plan of your days in the city you have know that see Catania is a must in a tour of Sicily. And, overall, you have to know that once you would have seen Catania, you’ll fall in love with this city. It is enought get off the airplane and watch the Etna volcano profile stand against the sky, get to the Duomo square and see the fish market in the morning to fall in love with Catania.
Visit Catania is like diving into an ocean of sensations, with the sun-drenched clothes and the scent of the sea. The city remains on you, like its light, which forces you to sow your eyes and browse through the bag to look for your sunglasses. Catania is a rebuilt city: like a phoenix was totally destroyed twice in the seventeenth century, first by an eruption and than by an earthquake. But this city was able to reborn to a new life more beautiful than before. But Catania is also a “young city” with its many University faculties full of students, a city that never sleeps, but it never looks insecure, simply alive.
And so I must apologize: I was not able to create an itinerary on what to see in Catania in one day. But I can tell you what to do in the city: enjoy it, even if you have little time.
Visit Catania in one day
What to do in Catania absolutely
Below some tips if you have only one day to spend in Catania:
- the “La Pescheria” (the fish market),
- “Piazza del Duomo” maybe sitting under the Elephant Fountain,
- “Via Etnea” (Etnea street) admiring the windows of the shops
- the “Chiesa di San Francesco” (San Francesco Church) to see the “Candelore“. The Candelore are giant candelabras that are brought to procession on the occasion of the Sant’Agata Festival.
- eat in a restaurant of the old town with the typical dish of Catania: the “Pasta alla Norma“.
- drink “Selz and lemon“ in one of the shops in via Dusmet, just behind the market.
What to see in Catania with kids
If you decide to visit Catania with children there are two stops you can not miss. The first one is definitely the Elephant Fountain, very particular that will strike the children with his legend of the Negroid Hierodorus that through this statue controlled the eruptions of Etna. The second is the gardens of Villa Bellini, where, between flowers and plants, you can relax in the shadows while your children can play. There you will find some beautiful playgrounds that will make the visit of Catania funny also for children. Then do not forget that a great reason to go to Catania with kids is the sea: the beaches are really close to downtown and fantastic for kids.
Where to eat in Catania
Wherever you choose to eat in Sicily you will not be wrong, so don’t be afraid. In Catania, however, we want recommend you some restaurants and bar that we enjoyed:
- Giglio Rosso Restaurant: The first one is this restaurant, located in Sant’Anna street. This restaurant in Catania is furnished with plates and tiles in the historic center and go there to try the true Sicilian cuisine.
- Etoile D’Or Bar: This bar serve also take away food and it is located in Dusmet street, very close to the Pescheria Market. Here everything is prepared with top quality products and a “zero kilometer”: almonds from Avola, pistachios from Bronte and ricotta that comes at three o’clock in the night from the surrounding countryside. Believe me, you have to go and try the chocolate granite! But if you do not like the sweet, do not worry because there you will find many salty delicacies, first of all the “arancini“.
Where to sleep in Catania: hotel
Our hotel in Catania was the “Dimora de Mauro” a residence located right in the historic center of the city. The peculiarity of this structure is that it was built in what was once an ancient “village in the city” in a courtyard where, besides private homes, there were shops and little factories. Today this residence is made by well furnished apartments equipped for cooking and wish dishwasher. You can see reviews and prices of this hotel in Catania following this link.
Things to do close to Catania
There are many things to visit close to Catania. Here some tips:
- Etna Volcano: go up to the Rifugio Sapienza to see the Silvestri Craters and, if possible, taking the cable car to climb up.
- Riviera dei Ciclopi: go there to see two small villages, Aci Trezza and Acireale, with their beautiful sea.
If you want to know more about Catania you can wach our video! 🙂