- Guided tour in English
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.
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.
Is 9 km from Catania, is an agricultural town at the foot of basalt rock in a wide east coast bay. Its interesting Castle (Norman, 11th century) built of lava stands on the top of the crag formed as a result of underwater eruption and has a particularly rare geological structure.
11 km from Catania (2km from Aci Castello), a busy seaside resort and fishing village with a small harbour. Together with the attractive Lido dei Ciclopi beach, it is famous as the scene of Giovanni Verga's verist novel "I Malavoglia". Isole dei Ciclopi, beautiful basalt rocks near the shore; in mythology, the ones Polyphemus hurled at Ulysses. The largest, Isola di Aci, is the site of a biology/marine physics station belonging to Catania University.
On request we can organise guided tour in English, transport and lunch. It is also possible to combine the visits of several destinations.