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    Catania Aci Trezza Islands of the Cyclops

    Islands of the Cyclops

    According to the mythology, the Cyclopean Islands are the place where Odysseus encountered the cyclops Polyphemus. Be part of the mythology by visiting this historic area!

    Catania harbour

    Port of Catania

    The port of Catania, built in 1438, is one of the biggest in Sicily. The fish market of the harbour is the best place to try the catch of the day. It can't get any fresher!

    Flights to Catania

    Sicily’s second biggest city after Palermo, Catania is a port city which dates back to ancient times and has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002. It’s in the foothills of Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. From its Roman ruins to its baroque churches, visitors to Catania can relive the city’s past.

    Sicilian beaches are the ultimate destination for sun worshippers. With its natural surroundings and cultural and historical sites, Catania is an excellent destination for a city break. With so much to recommend it, it’s always a good idea to book a cheap flight to Catania with Brussels Airlines.

    What to do in Catania?

    1. A visit to Piazza del Duomo, an iconic symbol of the city. This pedestrianised square is the heart and soul of the city and is home to a number of historic buildings and the Elephant Fountain. Decorated with a lava stone representing an elephant, the statue can be found in front of the Cathedral of Sant'Agata, the city’s patron saint. It’s an incredible spot in which to enjoy a coffee with a Sicilian pastry.
    2. If there’s one thing you must do in Catania, it’s exploring Mount Etna. This volcano, which is 3,300 metres high, is the highest active volcano in Europe. You can visit it by train, on foot, on horseback or in a 4x4 while athletic tourists can ski or mountain bike down its slopes.
    3. Visit the remains of the Roman amphitheatre, now surrounded by urban buildings, just a stone’s throw from Via Vittorio Emanuele. It dates back to the 2nd century AD.
    4. In Catania, you’re never far away from a Baroque-style religious monument. Must-sees include San Benedetto Church, the Basilica della Collegiata and the Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena, the second largest monastery in Europe.
    5. Explore Via Etnea, the city’s main street, which stretches from the Piazza del Duomo to the volcano. Paved with lava stone, this pedestrianised street is perfect for shopping and the occasional break for a coffee or a glass of wine.
    6. Head to San Giovanni li Cuti beach. Volcanic activity has turned the rocks black; it’s undoubtedly the city’s most characteristic beach. Don’t miss the nearby fishing port with its wooden boats, either.
    7. Visit Castello Ursino. This 13th-century building, which belonged to King Frederick II of Sicily, is one of the few buildings to have survived the earthquake of 1693. Today, it houses the city’s Civic Museum and its extensive archaeological collection.
    8. Stroll around Villa Bellini’s gardens. Ideal for a picnic or an afternoon nap, you’ll love this park on Via Etnea, filled with mature trees and fountains.
    9. The Pescheria (fish market) is just behind the Fontana dell’Amenano. You’ll find all kinds of food at this market, which is particularly popular with locals: live lobsters, swordfish, oranges, sheep’s heads, cheese and much more. It’s open every weekday morning.
    10. Visit the small Baroque town of Acireale, at the foot of Mount Etna and just a few kilometres from Catania. It’s known for its carnival, its spring water and its lava stone terraces, built on the waterfront.
    11. Aci Trezza is a small seaside resort, about ten kilometres from Catania. It’s known for its faraglioni, also known as Cyclops rocks : eight picturesque basalt stacks. It’s a typical village and the perfect place in which to enjoy some sun, sea and sand.

    Practical information for your trip to Catania

    • Brussels Airlines flights land at Catania-Fontanarossa airport, 7 kilometres or 15 minutes by car from the city centre. Shuttle buses connect the airport and the city centre. The journey takes 25 minutes and tickets cost between €2.50 and €4.
    • Current local time in Catania :  
    • Currency : The euro is used in Catania.
    • Telephone calls and Wi-Fi: : +39. Wi-Fi is available at all major hotels and restaurants.
    • Electric sockets : Sockets in Italy use type C and F European dual-pronged plug sockets, with most having a voltage of 220-240V.
    • Travel Information : When visiting, all passengers should make sure to have a passport which is valid for the duration of their trip. Passengers travelling from outside of the EU should check visa requirements. All information on visas and travel documents is available on the website:
    • Vaccinations : No vaccinations are required. More health information is available on the website:

    Dos and Don’ts in Catania

    • When visiting places of religious importance, do wear appropriate clothing - you won’t be allowed to enter if you are wearing shorts or skirts above the knee and your shoulders and chest aren’t covered.
    • Catania can be very hot and sunny, especially in summer. Always take a bottle of water and sunscreen with you.
    • Don’t imitate the Italian accent and pronounce “pizza, pasta and cappuccino” as if you were in a mafia movie. Italians are proud of their beautiful language and not everyone speaks like they're in The Godfather. Also don’t use your hands exaggeratedly while speaking. Speaking with gestures is a fine art that only Italians have mastered.
    • Long pasta, like spaghetti, should not be eaten with a spoon, and most restaurants will only serve it with a fork.

    Local phrases & essential vocabulary

    While most people in the region speak Italian, the Sicilian dialect is influenced by Greek and Arabic, so some common phrases may sound slightly different. Here are a few simple phrases:

    • Come va? is the formal way of asking how someone is, and " Sto bene ", grazie means " I'm fine, thank you. "
    • "Dove posso trovare la spiaggia, per favore?" means "Where can I find the beach, please?"
    • If you ever find the language getting too complex you can always says "Più piano, per favore", which is a useful phrase that means "could you speak more slowly, please".

    Cultural events in Catania

    • Premio Bellini d’Oro (early November): an international competition in which participants must interpret music by Bellini, a Romantic composer from Catania.
    • Festival of Saint Agatha (3-5 February): this is the biggest religious event in Catania and the biggest gathering for a Catholic feast day in Europe. According to legend, the governor of Sicily lusted after Saint Agatha; despite his use of a matchmaker, he couldn’t persuade her to marry him. To force her to change her mind, she was sadistically tortured but she kept her vow of virginity until her death. The festival features a torch-lit procession (luminaria), Masses, fireworks, fanfares, olive-shaped almond cakes and much more.

    When to go to Catania?

    Most visitors book their holidays to Catania in the middle of summer, when the city is at its hottest. From June to August, temperatures and tourist numbers rise. If you want to visit the region but also want to avoid sweltering heat and huge crowds, temperatures are much more pleasant in May and September. Temperatures average 25°C, so it’s still warm enough to spend the day relaxing on the beach.

    What to eat and drink in Catania?

    • The world-famous cannoli are from the island of Sicily. These crispy tube-shaped shells of fried pastry are filled with a sweet filling, usually made from ricotta, guaranteeing an explosion of flavours. Cannoli can be enjoyed on their own or as a dessert.
    • Traditional local street food includes arancini (stuffed rice balls, covered in breadcrumbs and fried), stigghiole (lamb tripe skewers) and panelle (chickpea fritters).
    • Pasta alla Norma is another local speciality, named after Bellini’s opera Norma. Pasta is cooked with a garlic tomato sauce, along with fried aubergine, fresh basil and grated, salted ricotta. This dish has become a symbol of Sicilian cuisine.
    • Cassatella di sant'Agata (Saint Agatha’s breasts) are a popular pastry and a real local speciality, made to celebrate the feast of Saint Agatha, from 3 to 5 February. These small domes of dough are filled with ricotta cream, candied fruits and pistachios and are covered with icing and a candied cherry.
    • Agghiotta di pesce spada is another local speciality: swordfish is cooked with pine nuts, raisins, capers, olives and tomatoes.
    • If you’re looking for local products, try Bronte pistachios, Zafferana Etnea honey and Etna PDO wine, which are all produced on the slopes of Mount Etna.
    • When it’s incredibly hot, there’s nothing like a lemon selz! Combining sparkling water, lemon juice and sea salt, this drink is sold in the kiosks by the Pescheria market.

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