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A city shaped by Mount Etna.
The still-active volcano Mount Etna looms large on the skyline of Catania. Mount Etna continues to shape Catania, as it always has. The entire city was buried in a volcanic eruption in 1669, and just 24 years later, was destroyed by the 1693 earthquake. This "creative destruction" extended the city's shoreline out beyond its original bounds and gave rise to a Baroque rebuilding of the old town. Catania is part of the eight "Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto" UNESCO World Heritage listing thanks to this stage of its development. The streets are paved with hardened lava, a sign of how the volcano's eruptions were put to good use.
Route for Catania tour
Catania has fewer standout sights than rival city Palermo because it's about half Palermo's size, and a significant part of its ancient history was buried under lava. One building that has been excavated is the Teatro Romano, an ancient Roman theater built on the site of a Greek theater. Under the Aragonese dynasty, Catania was the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily, and you will see traces of the grandeur of the period as you stroll around. Catania is very much a living city, with a busy commercial port. Mass tourism isn't an issue here, so you'll definitely be mixing with locals wherever you go. This is most apparent at the fish market that takes place every day except Sunday. You'll find it just off the city's main square and close to the Baroque-fronted cathedral dedicated to St. Agata, the city's patron saint.

Where to stay in Catania

As a busy city on an island more noted for its coastal tourism, there aren't too many leisure hotels to be found in Catania. We have inspected the city's best hotels located in and close to the historical center and when we create your customized trip plan will make our recommendations based on your preferences.
Stylish Classic Hotel in Catania
Stylish Classic Hotel
Located in a historical building, this is a surprisingly comfortable and stylish option with boutique touches.
Central Historical Hotel in Catania
Central Historical Hotel
An elegant 4-star option in a beautiful building with a roof garden in the historical center
Historical Luxury Hotel in Catania
Historical Luxury Hotel
A historical luxury hotel that has recently been restored to its former glory, with 5 star level amenities

Things to do in Catania

The best way to get to the heart of Catania is by taking a street food tour. It's a history lesson and a meal rolled into one. Once you've learned about the city you might want to head out on a day trip to Mount Etna, for some hiking and to try the characteristic wines produced from the volcanic soil. Along the way you'll notice the lemon and orange groves, some of the primary cash crops of the region. Day trips to Taormina, Ragusa, or Siracusa, are other popular options, if you're not planning on spending some overnights in those destinations. When we send you your customized itinerary you will be able to choose additional excursions to be include in your vacation package, or to consider adding later.
Mount Etna, Wine & Alcantara Small Group Tour
Mount Etna, Wine & Alcantara Small Group Tour
Etna and Taormina Private Full Day Tour
Etna and Taormina Private Full Day Tour
Catania Street Food Group Tour
Catania Street Food Group Tour

Frequently Asked Questions about travel to Catania

What are Catania's prices like?
In the center, a quick lunch with a drink costs around 15-20 euros. Museums and landmarks generally cost 5-20 euros. For a full dinner, budget at least 25-30 euros. 

How can I get around Catania?
Catania's center is best explored on foot, as attractions are close to each other, the city center runs along the main street (Via Etnea), and much of the area has been pedestrianized. AMT buses run all day, and can take you to every part of the city and its suburbs for 2 EUR. Tickets can be purchased at newspaper stands and tobacco stores, and must be validated when you hop on the bus. Catania also features a small subway system (Europe's southernmost), which runs from the train station to the Misterbianco district.
Is Catania safe?
Catania is safe, but pickpocketing is a possibility in crowded, touristy areas, and we recommend staying in the city center, instead of the suburban areas.
Does Catania have options for those with dietary restrictions?
There are many different kind of restaurants in the city, so we are sure you will find something good, even if you have allergies or restrictions, for example there are several very good vegan restaurants (including Ristorante Zenzero e Salvia and Haiku Integrale Biologico Vegano) and a delicious vegetarian restaurant on Via Caronda.
How long should I stay in Catania?
We recommend spending three nights in Catania, to have enough time to explore the city, taste its specialities, and enjoy a day trip, such as to Mt. Etna or Taormina.
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