Due to centuries of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, little has survived from this city’s early days. Still, Catania remains an ancient port city filled with Baroque architecture, some of the best seafood and lots of energy. Winter is one of the best times to visit, there are less tourists and temperatures are mild.
What to See
Start your exploration of Catania in the city center, Piazza Duomo. Designed in Baroque style in the 18th century, this area features the whimsical Fontana dell’Elefante statue and the stunning Catania Cathedral. The city’s showpiece church, Catania Cathedral, is dedicated to Saint Agatha and features a tiered Baroque façade fashioned out of volcanic rock.
One of Catania’s biggest attractions is that it sits at the foot of Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna which dominates the landscape of north-eastern Sicily. Take one of the buses from the Piazza to the base of the mountain or further up to several of the main cauldrons.
Where to Stay
Located in the artistic and commercial part of Catania, Una Hotel Palace is in the middle of it all. It’s housed in an early 20th century palazzo and features 94 elegant, yet understated rooms with roof top views of Mt. Etna. After a long day exploring the city, indulge in a Turkish bath and relax on the rooftop garden.
What to Eat
Catania is home to Sicily’s iconic pasta alla Norma, made with tomatoes, aubergine, ricotta and basil. It’s also known for its amazing and abundant fish market, La Pescheria, which is open daily and surrounded by seafood restaurants. Make a reservation at Osteria Antica Marina, which serves superb seafood with a trattoria vibe. Finish off your evening with gelato at Pasticceria Savia, a local institution in the middle of Via Etnea.