Sicily’s second largest city makes a charming base from which to explore the island’s top attractions, and with its grand Baroque piazzas, luxury shopping boulevards and neighboring volcano, there’s plenty to see and do in Catania.
Day 1: Admire the architecture
Catania’s UNESCO-listed center is prized for its Baroque architecture and a walking tour of the city unveils an impressive array of Baroque churches, grand palazzo and lively piazza. Start out at the central Piazza Duomo, the masterpiece of acclaimed local architect Vaccarini, where you’ll find the elegant City Hall, the Cathedral of Sant’Agata and Giovanni Battista’s iconic Elephant fountain. From here it’s a short walk to the medieval Castello Ursino, the opulent Teatro Massimo Bellini and Via Crociferi, one of the city’s most picturesque Baroque streets, where you’ll also find the Vincenzo Bellini house museum and the Parco Archeologico Greco-Romano di Catania.
Day 2: Hike Mount Etna
Lying at the foot of the notorious Mt Etna, you simply can’t visit Catania without viewing Europe’s highest active volcano and the 3,329-meter peak is easily visited on a half or full day tour. Take a 4-wheel drive trip around Mt Etna, brave a hike up the mountain or reap the rewards of the region’s fertile volcanic soils with a wine tasting tour of the surrounding vineyards.
Day 3: Explore the markets
After a day hiking in the hills, you’ll be in need of some retail therapy, so spend a morning soaking up the local culture at the Piazza Stesicoro market or sampling local produce at Catania’s famous fish market. Afterwards head to Catania’s premium shopping destination, Via Etnea, where you’ll find everything from big-name designer boutiques to renowned Italian department stores, as well as plenty of restaurants and bistros where you can sample local delicacies like Pasta alla Norma, named after local composer Vincenzo Bellini’s iconic opera Norma.