Discover the sensational landscapes of Catania, a city located on the eastern coast of Sicily at the foot of one of Europe’s biggest and most active volcano, Mount Etna. The breath-taking combination of intricate baroque architecture, comfy restaurants and café, easy-going Italian locals and picturesque hilly surrounds are alluring for most travellers. Scratching beneath its tradition surface of winding narrow alleyways and traditional food and fish markets reveals a cosmopolitan city with a vibrant nightlife and one that has struck a chord between innovation, tradition, leisure and work.
Located 4.3km from the city of Catania, Catania Fontanarossa Airport also known as Vincenzo Bellini Airport is a modern airport. With the increase flow of visitors to the city, there have been plans to further expand the airport and future plans include a new runway and a panoramic restaurant. Visitors are able to reach the heart of the city from the airport by taking the direct AMT Alibus which operate services every 20 minutes between the city centre and the airport. This option is cheap and convenient. A more expensive option would be to take the taxis which are readily available outside the arrival halls.
This city is considered to be a major gateway for Europe’s highest volcano, Mount Etna. Catania’s combination of the Mediterranean climate, historic monuments and the majestic view of the Ionian Sea makes it an alluring destination. The best way to explore this beautiful city is by foot or by hiring a taxi, if you’re lazy.
Catania features an array of important churches and museums. The most popular church to visit would be the Chapel of Saint Agatha which was built in the 12th century. The church of San Giuliano is often regarded as the most beautiful church in Catania. Be sure to bring along your camera and take lots of pictures at this stunning church. Head to the Benedictine Monastery, the largest in Europe to be awe-inspired. The most important cultural centres in Sicily, the Benedict Monastery have now been converted into the Faculty of Literature and Philosophy for the University of Catania. The architecture of the monastery is stunning with intricate designs and stained glass windows.
One major museum that shouldn’t be missed is the Museo Civico. The museum offers a wealth of knowledge on the history of the stunning city of Catania and is the only building surviving after the major earthquake in 1693. If you enjoy visiting museums, do consider exploring the famous Emilio Greco Museum. Named after one of Catania’s prominent artists, this museum houses more than 1500 of his paintings. The Biscari Museum has one of the most spectacular buildings in this city.
Catania is also famous for its variety of festival activities. The most famous of these festivals is the Festival of Saint Agatha which takes place in February. It is during this day when people celebrate their patron saint by offering candles, not just ordinary candles though. Some of the candles van weigh up to 1200kg! Visitors would be treated to a spectacular fireworks at the end of the first day of celebration from the Piazza del Duomo. Be sure not to miss this fascinating festival which is bound to end with a bang!
Situated nearby Catania and easily accessible from the Catania Airport is the charming city of Caltagirone. For a unique experience, this small town is well worth a visit for its pottery production expertise. Explore the Regional Pottery Museum, stroll down the beautiful Liberty-styled garden in the Villa Comunale and choose a few pottery items to bring back home as a souvenir.
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