Attractions in Catania
Catania is located at the foot of the biggest volcano in Europe, Mount Etna. The volcano is still active and attracts thousands of tourists each month keen to wittness one of its eruptions. There are however many other good attractions in Catania for visitors to enjoy and these are:-
Piazza Del Duomo
Piazza Del Duomo is the main Plaza in Catania and the center point for all activities. The plaza has a giant elephant statue which has become the symbol of the city in the last few decades. The Plaza is a great place to just sit and relax and watch the people passing by. The plaza is surrounded by a lot of historic buildings and important monuments.
Via Etnea is the main shopping destination in Catania and is lined with shops selling numerous types of local as well as branded merchandise. The street also has lots of churches as well as imposing buildings, some of which are architectural wonders. Locals like to stroll around the street at a leisurely pace in the evenings and so it is a good place for people watching.
This is an opera house built in the 19th century and is located on Piazza Teatro. The Piazza is a favorite place for the younger crowds to meet and remains lively and bustling till late hours in the night. The opera house itself is quite imposing and has beautiful architecture.
Piazza Stesicoro is a lively Square that has the ancient ruins of the Roman amphitheater. The piazza is also where the main market in Catania is located; the main market is lively and colorful and is the place where the locals shop for their everyday needs. The main bus center of Catania is also located here.
The Fish Market
The renowned fish and food market is located just above the Piazza Del Duomo and is known to be the best fish market in Sicily, the market remains busy at all times of the day and sells exotic items and fish food, a great place to experience the local lifestyle.
The Benedictine Monastery
This imposing building used to house the biggest monastery in Europe at one time. The monastery is no more functioning but the building is now used by the University of Catania, which is the oldest university in Sicily.
Mount Etna is the biggest volcano in Europe, and is a must visit. There are several guided and organized tours in Catania that take tourists to the Volcano and the views offered from the top of the mountain are spectacular.
The most outstanding monuments are the Chiesa di S. Nicolò and the annexed homonymous Benedictine Monastery (that today is the residence of the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia- Faculty of Letters and Philosophy), both of the XVII century, the Chiesa di S. Giuliano erected in the XVIII century, symbol of Catania's baroque, the Chiesa di S. Maria di Gesù of the XV century preserving a marvelous table by De Chirico (1525), the Cathedral that goes back to 1078, that preserves various tombs of Aragonese kings, and the chapel of S. Agata, the city's patron saint.
Architecturally outstanding are the Castello Ursino erected in 1239, today host of the Civico museum and of the Picture Gallery, the Belliniano museum set in the residence of Vincenzo Bellini, the Roman amphitheater of the Augustan era, and the home where the writer Giovanni Verga was born, currently seat of his personal museum.
Shopping in Catania
There are plenty of locations in Catania to do shopping. The famous Via Etnea is the main shopping destination in the city; the street is lined with several shops where visitors can find almost anything, local as well as branded items.
Apart from Via Etnea the main market located near Piazza Stesicoro is also worth a visit. The main market is a typical Sicilian market with narrow winding streets and tiny shops selling trinkets and items that are made locally. The colorful market remains vibrant at all times and most of the locals do their daily shopping from here.