CATANIA

Catania is a really splendid Baroque city which is situated on an extensive plain of citrus groves on the Ionian Sea at the foot of Mount Etna. Already a Chalcidensian colony in 729 BC, it was ruled by Syracuse during the 5th century BC and by the Romans in 263 BC. A period of great splendour lasted till Imperial and Byzantine domination. Catania was occupied on various occasions, also by the Spanish, and was seriously damaged by Etna’s terrible eruption in 1669 and the disastrous 1693 earthquake which hastened its steady decline. The present urban arrangement, with wide straight streets joining round Via Etnea, the main thoroughfare, dates to the city’s 18th century reconstruction. Catania has few although interesting ruins. Of importance is the Greek-Roman theatre in Via Teatro Greco, with the capacity to seat 7000, only part of it is visible, the rest being incorporated by the surrounding buildings. The excavations, still being carried out, have brought to light some remains of the stage, the wide auditorium and the orchestra pit. On the side of the monumental building there is an Odeon, a small theatre used for the choruses, with a seating capacity of 1300. The portico and architectural features render it an unusual archeological remain. In Piazza Stesicoro there is the great amphitheatre dating to the II century AD. It is one of the greatest Roman remains still existing, with a seating capacity of 15000, partly hidden by modern buildings and roads. 

In the province, we suggest a visit to Paternò which has some interesting remains of an active urban centre, from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The remains are kept in the Antiquarium. Research is still being carried out along the Valley of Simeto, to show the prehistory of Paternò and Adrano. There is evidence of artefacts, religious settlements and villages which still offer finely crafted pieces. Adrano, founded in 400 BC, was the centre for the cult of the god Adranon. The archeological is housed in the new museum in the castle.

Talking about food, pasta and cuttlefish, pasta and anchovies or Alla Norma with fried aubergines and salty ricotta cheese, lo Zuzzo with boiled pork pieces in gelatine made from the gravy, Sarde (pilchards) a cotoletta and a beccafico, crushed olives and stuffed olives, crispeddi stuffed with anchovies or ricotta, bocconcini e olivette di Sant'Agata, ossa di mortu made with a clove pastry and nougat ice cream.... Enjoy Sicily's tastiest food