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Featured Catania

Discussion in 'Catania' started by TuttoItaly, Aug 25, 2013.

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  1. Catania is a lovely Sicilian city, situated on the east coast, right next to the Ionian Sea. Capital of the province of Catania and the second largest city in Sicily, it is on the long list of places in Italy that tourists love to visit.

    Unfortunately, as beautiful as it is, Catania is also known for being destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes in 1169 and 1693 and by several volcanic eruptions, from the Mount Etna volcano which is nearby. But that doesn't stop it from continuing to rise above, despite the tragedies that happened throughout history. Today, Catania is one of the most prosperous cities on the island.


    The city's symbol is "u Liotru", or the "Fontana dell'Elefante". It was built in 1736 and it portrays a stone elephant with an Egyptian obelisk from Syene on top of it. The legend says that Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, who built the statue, originally built the elephant as neuter. However, the men in Catania were insulted as they thought the neuter elephant is insulting their virility so the elephant's testicles were added later on.

    Because of the many times the city was buried in lava, many ancient buildings and monuments were destroyed. However, many of them can be visited in the city-centre, as part of an archaeological park (Parco Archeologico Greco-Romano di Catania). Since the city was first ruled by Greeks and later by Romans, the ancient monuments include: a Greek-Roman Theater from the 2nd century, the Greek Acropolis of Montevergine, a Roman Forum, Christian basilicas, burial monuments and Catacombs etc.

    Among the interesting sites to visit is the Castello Ursino, a medieval construction near center that houses the Catania Civico Museum and a gallery of local art. Other castles in the area include Palazzo degli Elefanti, designed by Giovan Battista Vaccarini, (which is now the Town Hall of Catania), Palazzo Biscari and Palazzo Tezzano, all of them worthy of a visit.

    The Benedictine monastery is also an interesting building. It used to be one of the biggest monasteries in Europe but is now the Faculty of Literature of the University of Catania. The Church of San Nicolo is near the monastery and it's definitely worth a visit since it's the biggest church in Sicily.

    Catania is also home for a few lovely parks and gardens. The Catania Botanical Garden is a lovely place where succulent plants, palms and exotic plant species are grown. The Pacini Garden and the Bellini Garden are also very relaxing places to take a walk.

    Of course, one can't visit Catania and not explore its beaches. La Plaja is one of Catania's best features, the touristic village is maybe the most visited region of the area.

    The local cuisine is unique, as you can imagine. Besides the traditional dishes, such as "Pasta alla Norma" (macaroni-like penne cooked with tomato sauce, sliced aubergines and topped with salty ricotta), you can also have a taste of the granita, the flavoured sherbet that has been 'invented' right here in Sicily.

    Catania is quite an interesting city, the next time you plan to visit Sicily, make sure to stop by and visit it.

    Have some photo / video of Catania? Share them here.

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