Guide to Catania Sicily

Ciao everyone! My name is Don Tano Bongiorno and I am a semiofficial tour guide to the stunning Mediterranean island of Sicily.

Today I went on a walking tour of Catania with some friends. I had a cannolo and a cup of coffee. There was even a glass of Sicilian Amaro.

This particular amaro was called Amaro Amara and was well worth the effort.

With that one glass and maybe one or two more, my friends, I compiled a list of helpful tips to make your holiday memorable.

You know by now that I want to show you Sicily as the locals experience it, not like any tourist who might be passing through our beaches.

In other words, think of it as if you were born and raised here.

This guide is not boring or stereotypical. Instead, you’ll find real tips from locals.

You must be patient.

The city manual is quite long and will take at least 10 minutes to read. It is important to take the time to read this manual. The information contained in it can make a huge difference to your holiday.

Let’s just get to it, without further delay. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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Let me briefly introduce Catania, even though it is a complex history that would require thousands of people to fully understand it.

Catania is one of those cities that can express their own nature.

Its name derives from the Greek prefix “kata”, which means “in the vicinity of” or ‘leaning onto’. To give Catania, it is added to Etna’s name.

Catania, Europe’s highest volcano, built Catania at the base of Mt. Etna. This stunning area overlooks the Ionian Coast of Sicily.

Etna Volcano
It is rare to find a place like it anywhere in the world. This is literally a site where water and fire have come together to form the foundation of the city, which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site. The seven municipalities of Val di Noto have the same accreditation.

Catania has a rich history, much like other parts of Sicily.

It was established in 729 B.C. The city was invaded many times by the Chalkidiki Greeks. Each of these events was an enrichment for the arts, architecture, and cultural heritage that blend so well today.

This cultural upswing has also had a positive impact on Catania’s people.

Over the centuries, many different peoples have settled in the region and helped to shape the unique character of the current residents. They still live a life of hospitality and peace.

It’s not just the history, sea, and nature.

Because of its vibrant nightlife, the city is known as the “Milan of the South”. Catania is alive every night with its bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Catania is a city that offers almost everything you need. Catania is the place to go if you are looking for history, culture and nature. You might regret visiting Sicily if you don’t make the effort to visit the more popular places.

What is the best time to visit?
Catania’s Best Time to Visit
The climate is generally pleasant throughout the year. However, it can be quite hot in Catania or Sicily at times.

Catania actually has a subtropical climate all year, which makes it even more attractive for tourists.

Here, summer can last many months. Travelers don’t experience high temperatures. However, they do not feel the extreme humidity that can make it worse. The January and February months are the most likely to see rainfall.

Winter can be extremely mild and only receives a few days of rain.

While you can visit the beach at any time of the year, I recommend that you go between April and October if you want to really enjoy the sea.

How do you get there?
There are many ways to get to Catania.

Airplane – There is an international airport in Catania-Fontanarossa, “Vincenzo Bellini”. This is the first airport built in southern Italy for passenger traffic.

Alitalia offers direct flights from Rome, Milan and other major Italian province capitals. However, there are many low-cost airlines that offer Catania flights.

Fontanarossa for airplanes
The airport is located approximately 7 km from the center of the city. However, it is easily accessible via a shuttle service.

Train – Catania’s primary railway junction is the Central Station of Catania, located in Piazza Papa GiovanniXXIII. It is at the intersection of major thoroughfares in the city.

This station is connected with the port, making it connected to the rest of Italy via long-distance trains. These trains provide car transport service to Central Bologna and Milan San Cristoforo as well as to Turin Porta Nuova.

Ship – You can reach Catania by car from Naples or Genoa. You can also choose the port of Palermo if you have one. This will allow you to reach Catania in approximately 2 hours.

Port of Catania
Car – If you enjoy driving a car, take the A1 Naples–Milan motorway to Salerno–Reggio Calabria. You can board a ferry to Sicily from Villa San Giovanni once you have left Villa San Giovanni.

You can reach Catania by taking the A18 motorway, which will take you 95km. You will need to travel 195km and then take the A19 to get there from Palermo.

Catania can be reached by numerous means from any part of Italy. There is also an airport that allows you to fly direct from Europe.

Catania: Where to Stay
If you have the opportunity, take some time to explore the city.

It is important to choose where you will stay when you visit Sicily to enjoy the unique architecture, cultural influences, history, and connections.

When the sun sets, it is lively.

The entire historic center is within 1km radius and is filled with people and bars. There are also reliable and functional metros in this area.

These are the top three places to stay in Catania.

Historical Centre
The main square in Catania is via Etnea. This leads to Piazza Duomo at the center. This area is full shops, and can get very crowded.

Via Garibaldi and Via Vittorio Emanuele are just a few of the main streets in this area. These streets are also available for you to stay, but be aware that they will be busy.

Corso Italia
Although the area is beautiful, it is quite far from the centre. This area is also less active at night due to the large number of offices. The same argument can be made for Corso Sicilia.

Last but not least, the Lungomare area around Via Ruggero di Lauria & Via San Giovanni Li Cuti are beautiful and distinctive.

The centre is easily reached by a short walk of just 30 minutes. You can find two beaches at this location, one sandy and the other made of black lava rock cliffs.

While the historical centre is the best place to stay, it can be hard to park your car near your accommodation if you own a car. Lungomare, which is open in summer, is a great alternative to the city center.

These are the most desirable areas so let’s have a look at the actual accommodations available.

Catania Hotels, B&Bs and Apartments
Hotel Centrum
Address: Monsignor Ventimiglia 37

Hotel Centrum
This location is ideal for those looking to be centrally located in Catania’s historical centre. It is just 500m from the Duomo and behind the Massimo Bellini Theatre.

They are friendly and welcoming, and they pay attention to their guests’ needs. The breakfast is excellent and the location is strategic.

Check out the Hotel Centrum’s price and availability here

Catania Inn B&B
Address: Via Gagliani 13, 95124

Catania Inn B&B
The B&C Catania Inn offers a convenient location near the bus station and city centre. Staff are friendly and helpful. The property is clean, comfortable, and nice.

A hearty breakfast can be enjoyed before you start your day. You can also enjoy a cup of tea anytime throughout the day. Although the street isn’t very attractive, it is close to the city center.

People who own cars may be able to park in the garages near their accommodations.

Check out the Catania Inn B&B’s price and availability here

Hotel Villa Romeo
Via Platamone 8, 951131

Hotel Villa Romeo
Although it is a 3-star hotel, it is well worth the price. The hotel is located just 20 minutes walk from the beach and 10 minutes from the centre of the city. It’s also only two minutes away from the bus stop and train station that take you to Mount Etna.

The bathrooms and rooms are spacious and clean. Breakfast is available in a variety of flavors to suit both sweet and savory preferences. The helpful staff is available 24 hours a day to assist you.

The accommodation has a private garage that is exclusively for guests.

Check out the Hotel Villa Romeo’s availability and prices here

Hotel Trieste
Address: Via Leonardi 24 Catania

Hotel Trieste
This 1-star hotel is located in a less expensive area, but it will still amaze you. This hotel deserves a higher rating due to its hospitality, cleanliness, central location, and overall star rating.

It is located only 300m from cathedral. The Duomo is a 5-minute walk away. The beach is a 20-minute walk away.

Check out the Hotel Trieste’s availability and prices here

Hotel La Ville
Address: Monteverdi 15, 95131

Hotel La Ville
It is a very nice hotel with friendly staff. This hotel offers a delicious breakfast buffet that is plentiful and well-prepared.

It is an excellent value for money, and the location is ideal. It is located in the city’s centre, near the main shopping area. It is ideal for anyone who wants to travel to Catania’s station or Le Ciminiere Conference Centre.

Check out the Hotel La Ville’s availability and prices here

Liodoro Catania B&B
Address: Via Gagliani, 13, 95124

Liodoro Catania B&B
This location is easy to appreciate when you see how spacious the rooms are and how friendly and helpful the staff are to guests who stay there. Breakfast is available from a variety of local products.

It is also a short walk from the Duomo. It is difficult to park your car in this area so you can park it in a private garage near the B&B.

Here’s the Liodoro Catania B&B price list and availability

Moving around the City
AMT is responsible for managing the public transport system in this area. This organization stands as Azienda Metropolitana Transsporti, or Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

It is a great system, with some flaws but it is better than the one in Palermo.

You will find buses and trams all around the city, as well as a subway that is less efficient and underutilized.

Orange city buses are one of the most efficient ways to move around the city. They make it easy to go from point A to point B in a quick and efficient manner.

What you need to do and see
Catania is a beautiful city with a multitude of cultural attractions.

It is ideally located for holiday on the beach, with its view of the Ionian Sea. You can also go on excursions here, thanks to the trails that lead to the active Etna volcano.

You can also visit nearby towns with beautiful merit, such as Caltagirone and Taormina.

Ten Best Places To Visit
Here are the top ten things you should do when you visit this region.

Piazza del Duomo
This square is the heart of Catania’s social life. This square is surrounded with Baroque-style buildings that delight the senses. This site has been designated a World Heritage Site (UNESCO).

Fountain of the Elephant
It is located in square opposite the Duomo where the elegant Via Etnea begins. This monument dates back to 18th century and consists of a lava rock elephant, topped with a granite obelisk. It is believed to be a symbol for both luck and charm in the area.

Saint Agatha
Duomo also contains the Cathedral of Sant’Agata. Its marble walls contain the remains of this patron saint from Catania. Every February, the procession through Catania is dedicated in honor of Sant’Agata. It is the largest building in Catania.

Bellini Civic Museum
Vincenzo Bellini, the most well-known Sicilian composer was born in Catania. His works, including Norma and La Straniera and La Sonnambula are well-known around the globe. This museum, which honors the genius with artifacts as well as history, is one of the most fascinating museums in Catania.

Roman Theatre
Via Vittorio Emanuele is home to one of the best-preserved Roman ruins. It is surrounded with buildings that date back to days past, including gladiator tunnels as well as a circular auditorium.

It is the highest volcano in Europe and can be found between Catania (Taormina) and at an impressive 3,300m high. It is safe to climb the mountain, even though it regularly erupts. The area is constantly monitored for any changes.

Massimo Bellini Theatre
This is the heartbeat of the city’s music scene. This venue hosts world-class artists and is therefore often very crowded during events. Guided day tours allow you to explore the interior, which dates back over 100 years ago.

Etnaland has three amusement parks. One is a water park that features slides and pools; another is a prehistoric park featuring dinosaur and primitive animal reproductions. The third one offers merry-go round rides and other fun activities. This is a great place for children of all ages.

This masterpiece is from the Sicilian Baroque period. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, partly because of its symbolic significance for the city. It is a magnificent and impressive complex built in 17th-century.

It is located less than 70 kilometers from Catania and is the capital for ceramics on the island of Sicily. It is home to some amazing architectural gems, including the decorated walls that line the Steps of Santa Maria.

Catania is home to many events that highlight the unique, creative and dynamic citizens.

They will vary every year so I can’t give you a list.

However, I will tell about one celebration you should attend if possible.

Catania is brought together by the Feast of St. Agatha which takes place every year between 3 and 5 February.

This event is highlighted with the moving procesions on the 4th & 5th of February that see the city traversed by a river full of white silhouettes.

They are not ghosts.

These white-shirted participants are moving the patroness’ ferrule and swaying candles through the crowd.

Catania is not just a place of folklore and tradition. It hosts many art and musical events throughout the year. All of these events often feature local talent and local products.

Where and what to eat
Catania thrives with fresh produce, horticultural products and fruit because of its abundance. This has led to a rich and varied gastronomy.

Here are some tips that I can offer you on what to eat.

Seafood salads made with shrimp, ox eyes and octopus.
Pasta with cuttlefish oil
Pasta with masculini (fresh Anchovies in tomato sauce and cuttlefish Ink)
Arancini are fried rice balls filled with ragu
Pasta allaNorma (with sauce, fried aubergines).
Pasta Siciliana is a thin dough of fried pasta filled with tuna, anchovies and other ingredients
Cassata and Cannoli are three types of almond-based pasta.
Brioche with Ice cream
The list could go on and on, but there are many dishes you can enjoy. You will have tried some of the finest Catania cuisine.

Nightlife and bars
Catania is a university town, so there are many bars and nightclubs that young students frequent.

The beach is a popular choice for locals. This is not a popular option in the summer, though, as you might imagine.

They host guests of all ages during the day who can enjoy the sun and swim in the pool. They transform into outdoor discos with music, entertainment, and dancing after sunset.

These are the best places to spend an evening.

Mercati Generali

Mercati Generali Catania
This is undoubtedly the most well-known nightclub in Sicily. It is regularly included in international rankings. Although it’s only 10km from the City Centre this club is well worth the effort. It is a popular spot for fashionable people who love to have fun and keep the party going.


Zo Cultural Centre
Zo Cultural Centre offers guests a variety of entertainment, shows, and other events. You can also enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner inside, and you have the option to choose from a wide range of wines.

A Putia Dell’Ostello

Locals love this spot, particularly because of its porous interior. The restaurant is known for its excellent selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes. It serves a vegetarian lunch on Sunday, a DJ is available Wednesdays, and live jazz music Fridays.

Razmataz Wine Bar

This restaurant has an outdoor area where you can enjoy wine, cocktails, and beer. From aperitif hour onwards, it is a favorite spot for Catania residents. You can also find a variety of drinks here. The food menu changes every day.

The location is known for its colorful interior, which makes it a favorite spot for students and the artsy crowd in Catania. It is a great place for them to grab a pre-disco beverage. On warm evenings, the stairs are crowded with young people.

Shopping in Catania
There are many shops that you will find in Catania.

These are the top places to do it.

Via Etnea Corso Sicilia, Via Umberto, for clothing shops, department stores, and ice cream shops.
Via Monfalcone and Corso Italia are luxury designer shopping destinations
La Pescheria is a historical market for local gastronomic products
La bottega del puparo
The “La Bottega del Puparo”, Via Reitano 56, is not a street, but a shop I recommend. This historic Neapolitan shop, which dates back to the 16th century, focuses on the production of puppets for performances at the Opera dei Pupi.

Which is better to visit: Catania, or Palermo
This is a question I am asked a lot. My answer is always the same: Both. There are many factors that will influence your decision.

Both are equally good.

Catania, Briefly

This book can be considered a comprehensive look at Sicily as it includes a detailed look at all the major cultures that influenced the growth and change of the island. There are many influences from the Greek-Romans and Byzantines as well as Normans, Arabs. Normans. Baroque, Aragonese. Even 19th century Art Nouveau.

It is an ideal location for anyone who wants to see a city with a high cultural heritage, but doesn’t have a lot to do.

This city has many stories to tell.

It is a rebuilt city, reborn from the rubble of destruction and cataclysm. It is the city of Saint Agatha. His presence is everywhere and not only at the places of worship.

Catania has three points of favor

It’s easy to get around
Shopping is easy in large malls and other areas.
It is near an active volcano that you can explore
According to statistics, Catania’s crime rate is still lower than Palermo’s.

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