Top 10 attractions you need to see in Catania

Originally founded as a Greek colony in ancient times, Catania is a port city which lies on the East coast of Sicily. As the 2nd largest metropolitan city in Sicily, it sits at the foot of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. Home to the iconic Sicilian dish, La Pasta alla Norma, this picturesque gem is one place you’ll definitely appreciate.

Here’s a list of the top 10 sights to see during your stay in Catania:

  1. Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata

    catedrale san agata

    Originally constructed in 1078, the Cathedral of Catania is simply stunning and a masterpiece of Norman and Baroque architecture.

    Located in the centre of the old town, the cathedral can be found in the self-styled Piazza Del Duomo in close proximity to many of the other tourist attractions.

    Inside, there is a large amount of beautiful details such as the frescos at the main altar, the decorative artwork and paintings, and the tomb of the notable composer Bellini.

  2. Ursino Castle

    ursino castle

    Ursino Castle is a relic from the 13th century and was built as part of the Kingdom of Sicily by Emperor Frederick II. Today the castle stands in remarkable condition and all four of its original towers and walls still stand without damage; furthermore.

    You can wander around the castle and take some amazing photos, but be sure to check out the fantastic Museum which is housed within the castle walls inside.

  3. Mount Etna

    mount etna

    Catania virtually sits in the shade of the immense Mount Etna, and this active stratovolcano is one of the main tourist attractions of Sicily.

    Mount Etna, or ‘a Muntagna’ in Sicilian, stands at a height of 3329m and is the tallest active volcano in Europe. Apart from the breath-taking views, climbing Mount Etna and witnessing its gaping caldera up close is definitely a MUST on your bucket list.

  4. Monastero dei Benedettini

    monastero dei benedettini

    This Benedictine Monastery complex is located in the centre of Catania and is one of the most important and largest examples of its kind in Europe.

    Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this monastery is a stunning piece of architecture and was originally founded in 1558. As an amalgamation of many styles, the complex is an interesting site and notable structures include the Marble Cloister, the Red Hall, and the Basilica of Saint Nicolo.

    Consider climbing to the top of the basilica dome for amazing panoramic views of the city; admire the front façade that features sculptured window decorations, and walking through the cloisters to see the fantastic arches and fountains.

  5. Piazza Del Duomo

    piazza del duomo

    As the main square in Catania, the Piazza Del Duomo has a great deal to offer in terms of attractions.

    Located in the heart of the city close to the port area, this central square is a regular gathering place for the locals and a great tourist spot.

    In the centre of the square is the impressive Fontana Dell’Elefante, the Fontana Dell’Amenano, Catania Cathedral and the Palazzo degli Elefanti – All fine pieces of architecture.

    There’s a number of cafes and restaurants with ideally situated outside seating so you can have a drink or a bite to eat and marvel over the stunning architecture, or people watch if you prefer!

    The Piazza Del Duomo is also a main meeting point for many walking tours of Catania so if you have time, definitely check one out!

  6. Via dei Crociferi

    via dei crociferi

    Home to the famous opera singer Vincenzo Bellini, this historic street is one of the main arteries of the city and features a number of historical buildings.

    Located in between the Roman Theatre and the Giardini Bellini, the Via dei Crociferi features four spectacular Baroque style churches – The Church of St. Francesco Borgia, The Church of San Benedetto, The Church of St. Francis Assisi and the Church of San Giuliana.

    Via Dei Crociferi is great place to enjoy a more relaxed leisurely walk while stopping at one of the fine spots to wine and dine.

  7. San Nicoló l’Arena

    san nicolo l'arena

    Connected to the Monastero dei Benedettini, the Chiesa di San Nicoló l’Arena is built over the site of a Greek Acropolis and several of the original columns still stand on the front façade.

    This is the largest church in Sicily and is considered as one of the most bizarre of them all – Its front façade has never been complete, therefore it comes across as strange and sinister.

    Although inside the church is more pleasing and features a myriad of columns, arches and religious decoration definitely worth seeing.

  8. Teatro Romano

    teatro romano

    Located in between the Benedictine Monastery and the Catania Cathedral, the Roman Theatre of Catania is most complicated and largest amphitheatre in all of Sicily.

    Created in the 2nd century BC, the theatre features a main seating area and also a smaller Odeon theatre to the left hand side.

    The seats of the theatre and several other sections are actually created from lava taken from Mount Etna and the structure remains in fantastic condition

  9. Porta Garibaldi

    porta garibaldi

    Possibly one of the most impressive structures in Catania, this monumental gate was created in 1768 and dedicated to King Ferdinand IV and his wife Maria Carolina.

    Designed and built by Francesco Battaglia and Stefano Ittar, the arch is now named after Giuseppe Garibaldi who was instrumental in the unification of Italy during the 1800’s.

    Aside from the various stone and marble statues that top the arch, the white and black striped walls and frame create a fantastic contrast and make the arch stand out.

    At the pinnacle of the gateway is an inscription and also a working clock that is crowned with and eagle.

  10. Giardini Bellini and Parco Maestranze

    giardini bellini

    A fine public space for relaxation and enjoying nature, the Giardini Bellini and the Parco Maestranze are located to the west of the Piazza Carlo Alberto in the town centre.

    The Bellini garden is located at the east side of the park and contains a beautiful fountain, several flower beds and many varieties of tree.

    Aside from the Giardini Bellini, the Maestranze Park features a series of shaded walking trails covered by luscious forest for that magical stroll.

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