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Catane-Sicily
Visiting-Catane

Visit Catania, Aci Castello, Acitrezza

Travel to Sicily through history and see authentic and unusual places. Discover on foot the historic center of Catania, the Baroque city. With our English-speaking guide is also scheduled the visit of Aci Castello and its Norman lava stone castle. Not to mention a walk to Acitrezza, to see the rocks of the Cyclops and of the giant Polyphemus

Visit the baroque city of Catania, the castle of Aci Castello and Acitrezza

 

The itinerary includes a visit to Catania, Aci Castello and Acitrezza. The tour can be done on a full day or half day. With your vehicle, using public transport or with our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver.

Our English-speaking tourist guide will lead you for the visit.

 

The tour, with our tour guide, explores these different times of Catania:

  • The ancient Roman age: the Roman theater, the Odeon, the Roman amphitheater and the baths.
  • The Middle Ages: the Bonaiuto Chapel, the Cathedral of Sant'Agata, the Church of Sant'Agata al Carcere, Ursino Castle.
  • The Renaissance: the Benedictine monastery, the walls of Charles V, the fountain of the "seven channels".
  • Baroque: after the eruption of 1669 and the 1693 earthquakes, Catania was almost entirely rebuilt in Baroque style.

 

Catania is a splendid Baroque city located on an extensive plain of citrus groves on the Ionian Sea at the foot of Mount Etna. Already a Chalcidians colony in 729 BC, it was dominated by different tyrants and populations, with a period of great glory that went on till Imperial and Byzantine domination.

A terrible eruption of the Etna in 1669 has severely damaged the city, and the disastrous 1693’earthquake hastened its steady decline: the nowadays urban arrangement goes back to the city’s 18th-century reconstruction.

Catania can boast of some magnificent interesting ruins, one of those the Greek-Roman theatre in Via Teatro Greco, with a 7000-seating capacity: only part of it is visible, the rest has been incorporated by the surrounding buildings.

The excavations have brought to light some parts 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 people. The portico and architectural features make it an unusual archaeological remain.

In Piazza Stesicoro we can see 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 people, partly hidden by modern buildings and roads.

 

 

What to eat in Catania

Taste the arancini (stuffed rice balls). Mini pizzas. Ricotta cannoli, ice cream and almond pastries. Without forgetting the granita with the brioche. You can't leave Catania without tasting granita, a sorbet made with crushed ice. Taste the Norma pasta. Is the specialty of Catania. Ingredients: eggplant, tomato sauce and ricotta. Named after Norma, opera by Vincenzo Bellini.

 

What to see in Catania

Via Etnea (covered with lava cobblestones), Via Vittorio Emanuele II, Via Plebiscito and Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. At the beginning of February come for a tour to see the feast of Saint Agatha, patron saint of the city of Catania. Also worth to see are the Massimo Vincenzo Bellini theater (famous composer from Catania), Palazzo Biscari, the Pescheria (fish market), Piazza Stesicoro. The public gardens of Villa Bellini, the Duomo.

Piazza Duomo and the Liotru (the lava stone elephant). Ursino Castle, via Crociferi (with Baroque buildings and churches). The Roman theater (which could accommodate 7000 people) and the lyric theater Massimo Bellini. Visit the fish market and the piazza Currò market, near Piazza del Duomo. In the evening in the city center you will find many places to eat and socialize.

 

Aci Castello and Acitrezza Tour

The villages are at 30 minutes from Catania. Travel by car is necessary. Aci Castello, 9 km from Catania, its territory borders the Cyclops Islands, a marine protected area. Acitrezza is characterized by the rocks of the Cyclops. The tour includes the visit to the Aci Castle (Normand, 11th century) built from lava stands on the top of the crag, to Acitrezza and to its Cyclops Islands.

 

 

Aci Castello

Aci castello It is a city of about 20,000 inhabitants. This city takes the name of the Norman castle which dominates the coast. Built on a lava rock, it has a particularly rare geological structure which formation is previous to that of the Etna volcano. The rock is characterized by the presence of pillow-lava which is a result of underwater eruptions.

History. Aci Castello and the other Aci are said to be originally part of Xifonia. A mysterious disappeared Greek city, probably today located on the territory of the municipality of Aci Catena. The poets Virgil and Ovid gave birth to the myth of its foundation. From the love story between the nymph Galatea and the shepherd Aci as well as Cyclop Polyphemus (also in love with the beautiful Galatée).

In Roman times, there was a town called Akis, which participated in the Punic Wars. The history of the medieval Jachium, then of Al-Yag and the other villages of the territory closely coincides with that of the castle of Aci. Under Spanish domination, conflicts erupted between Aquilia Nuova (Acireale) and the Aci farms. This determined their administrative autonomy.

Environment and territory. Aci Castello is today in the center of a coastal territory which attracts for its extraordinary charm. It is made up of the hamlets of Acitrezza, Capomulini, Cannizzaro and Ficarazzi. To see also 18th century lava stone works, centenary trees or votive niches. Among which stand out those dedicated to Saint Agata, Ecce Homo and Madonna di Valverde.

 

Acitrezza 

It is 11 km far from Catania. Its history is linked to the activity of fishing since centuries, still practiced today, according to traditional methods. The site is characterized by reefs also called "Cyclops rocks".

Beautiful basalt rocks near the shore that according to the mythology are those that the cyclops Polyphemus threw against Ulysses trying to leave the island: the largest, Isola Lachea, is the site of a biology/marine physics station belonging to the University of Catania. This is the place where the Etna volcano was born.

From a naturalist perspective, the Faraglioni complex and Lachea Island is a magnificent regional nature reserve. It is a geological environment of rare beauty.

Resulting from an ancient underwater eruption (it is the birthplace of the Etna volcano about 550,000 years ago). The majestic basalts in columns and the small island complex, conserves minerals and different plant and animal species.

It’s famous as the set of Giovanni Verga's verist novel "I Malavoglia” (1881).

Accommodation in Catania

  • B&B Acqua dell'Arte, Via Cristoforo Colombo, 46, 95121 Catania.
  • Hotel Biscari, Via Giovanni Anzalone 7, 95131 Catania.
  • B&B Catania Globetrotter, Vicolo della Lanterna, 14, 95121 Catania.
  • B&B Faro, Via S. Michele, 26, 95131 Catania.
  • UNA Hotel Palace, Via Etnea, 218, 95131 Catania.
  • Sheraton, Via Antonello da Messina 45, Aci Castello, 95021 Catania.
  • 4 Spa Resort Hotel, Via Nazionale, 114, 95021 Aci Castello CT.

 

Accommodation between Catania and Taormina

  • Zash, SP2 / I-II, 70, 95018 Riposto CT.
  • Resort Donna Carmela, Contrada Grotte, 7, 95018 Carruba CT.

Visit Catania, the Baroque city

Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, it lies at the foot of Mount Etna and offers many views of the active volcano. Catania has a strong personality given its past and eventful past, it is an ancient city that was almost rebuilt following the terrible earthquake of 1693.

Catania is a late Baroque city of the Val di Noto (south-east of Sicily), which offers an exceptional testimony of the exuberant genius of art and late Baroque architecture, the final blossoming of art Baroque in Europe at its peak. It is inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List.

The old historic center of Catania starts from the hill Montevergine (currently corresponding to Piazza Dante), which is characterized by "archaeological layers" since the Neolithic Age.

The top of the hill was the place where it was built, around the 8th century BC, the legendary Greek Acropolis Katane, the center of religious and political life, which rode the housing and roads of Catina Romaine.

Catania is a city of about 350,000 inhabitants, the metropolitan area of ​​Catania is the seventh of Italy for residents. Founded in 729 BC by the Chalcis, has a long history characterized by various leaders whose remains enrich the artistic, architectural and cultural.

It was conquered by the Romans in 263 BC, leaving architectural vestiges of the Augustan era. After the Byzantine domination followed the Arab domination, then the Normans, who brought many changes and innovations in the city, as, for example, the construction of the Cathedral of Piazza Duomo and the many monasteries. Under the Aragonese dynasty it was the capital of the kingdom of Sicily and it was at that time that was born the first university of the island.

Over the centuries, Catania has been hit repeatedly by volcanic eruptions (the last is that of 1669) and earthquakes (the most catastrophic in 1693). Since the end of the 17th century, an important phase of reconstruction has started according to "modern standards".

The damaged buildings were demolished and new ones were built on top of the rubble layers, raising the level of the city that has come down to us as we know it today. In 2002 the baroque of the historic center of Catania was declared World Heritage by UNESCO, as well as that of seven towns in the Val di Noto (Caltagirone, Militello in the Val of Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli).


Conditions of sale

The weather will be updated 48/24 hours before the excursion.

If weather conditions are unfavorable, the excursion will be postponed to another available day or refund (in case of advance payment).

You can cancel and be refunded free of charge up to 1 month in advance.

 

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