Strolling Catania

Address: Piazza Duomo, Catania

 Strolling in Catania.
The historic center of Catania is ideal for a nice ride, both day and night, through the beautiful lava stone cobbled streets, rich of monuments and tourist attractions. We suggest to start the tour from the “Piazza del Duomo” (A), very easy to find, with the Baroque Cathedral, built on the ruins of Achilliane Roman Baths, destroyed and rebuilt several times, because of many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In the middle of the square is the symbol of the city: the Elephant, called "liotru" by Catania people. From here, you will take Via Vittorio Emanuele, passing the beautiful Church of the “St. Agatha Badia” by Vaccarini (B) and the headquarters of the Archdiocese, till the entrance of Via Landolina that will take you to Piazza Teatro Massimo (C). The theater, designed by architects Scala and Sada and obviously dedicated to Vincenzo Bellini, one of the greatest exponent of the opera, was inaugurated in 1890 with the "Norma" by Bellini.
Continue towards Via Antonino di Sangiuliano, in the direction of Via Etnea; you can see the Teatro Sangiorgi (D) and Palazzo Manganelli, in the homonymous square.
Cross the intersection with Via Etnea, called "Quattro Canti” (Four Corners - E), you will climb up to the intersection of Via Crociferi. This uphill is the setting of one of the most vibrant moment during the celebrations of Sant'Agata Feast - when, preceded by "Candelore" (enormous votive candles), the “Fercolo” (Saint’s coach) runs up quickly this part of the climb.
When up at the intersection with Via Crociferi, you will have at your right and down the street, Villa Cerami, which houses the Faculty of Law.
Crociferi Street, built in the eighteenth century, is one of the most beautiful streets of the Sicilian Baroque style, and in the short distance of about 200 meters you will find four churches.
The Church of San Giuliano (F), considered one of the finest examples of Baroque in Catania, is attributed to Giovambattista Vaccarini, with a convex prospect with clean and elegant lines.
After, there is the Jesuit College (G), the former headquarters of the Institute of Art, containing a beautiful cloister with arcades on columns and arches.
Further on is the Church of St. Francis Borgia (H) which is accessed by two staircases. The two churches are separated by a small road leading to the Asmundo Francica-Nava Palace, Piazza Asmundo.
Then, the Church of St. Benedict (K), which is connected to the monastery of the Benedictine nuns by the arc that connects the small Badia to the large Badia. It is accessed by a staircase and is surrounded by an iron gate.
After the Arch, on the right, is the Greek theater that will amaze you for sure: on your left you will notice the remains of a great Roman Theatre (J) built on Greek remains and preserved quite well. It is location for artistic performances. Almost all the site can be visited with the exception of parts still in restoration.
Continue along Via Greek Theatre and you get to Piazza Dante to see the Benedictine Convent, exceptional construction, perfectly preserved, home to some university faculties. A visit inside.
It falls on Via Vittorio Emanuele and take the Via S. Anna. Here is the residence of Giovanni Verga Catania, the most famous writer of Catania. If you are in a hurry you directly to Piazza Duomo.
We suggest, however, a small deviation that will allow you to admire the Castello Ursino. Built by Frederick II of Swabia was built, between 1239 and 1250, within a more complex coastal defense system in Eastern Sicily (they are related to the same project and the castle Maniace Syracuse to Augusta) and as a symbol of authority and Swabian imperial power in a city that is often hostile and rebellious to Frederick. The design and direction of the work was entrusted to the military architect Riccardo da Lentini who built it on what was then an impregnable rocky promontory overlooking the sea, connected by an isthmus to the city and the city walls.
It is part of Via Garibaldi, crossing Piazza Mazzini, return on Piazza Duomo, finding the right Amenano Fountain (N), underground river of Catania, just opposite the Cathedral.
During the walking tour, you will find shops and restaurants where to eat and drink Sicilian food, for a sweet memory of the flavors and traditions of Catania.