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Catania

Travel Guide Europe Italy Sicily Catania

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Introduction

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Catania is a city on the central eastern coast of Sicily and has about 300,000 inhabitants. The metropolitan area is much bigger though, with roughly 750,000 people living here. It's located between Messina and Siracusa and at the foot of Mount Etna, the highest point on Sicily and an active volcano. Much of the city is even constructed out of the lava that came down the volcano in 1669, killing a massive 12,000 people.

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Sights and Activities

Because of the destruction by lava coming down Mount Etna, Catania has been destroyed quite a few times and in layers beneath the ground, remains can still be found dating back to Greek and Roman times. Of the last period, the remains can be seen from:

  • The Greek-Roman Theatre (2nd century).
  • The Odeon (3rd century).
  • The Catanian Amphitheatre (2nd century).
  • The Greek Acropolis of Mountvirgin's Hill.
  • The Roman Aqueduct's Ruins.
  • The Roman Forum in Piazza San Pantaleone.
  • Roman ruins in Cortile Archirotti.
  • Several Christian basilicas, hypogea, Roman burial monuments and Catacombs in some urban areas.
  • The Roman Columns in Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini.
  • The Achillean Thermae.

The Baroque city centre of Catania is on the Unesco World Heritage List containing the following sights:

  • Saint Agatha's Cathedral
  • Saint Agatha's Abbey
  • Saint Placid
  • Saint Joseph by the Dome
  • Most Holy Sacrament by the Dome
  • Saint Martin of the White Garbs
  • Saint Agatha the Eldest * Saint Agatha by the Furnace or Saint Blaise
  • Saint Prison's Church or Saint Agatha in Jail

There also quite a few historical churches to be found scattered around Catania.
The Piazza del Duomo is one of the usual hotspots of the city as well and there are nice parks and botanical gardens.

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Weather

Catania has a mediterranean climate with warm, dry and sunny summers and mild but wetter winters. Summes last from late May to September when temperatures are usually around 30 °C during the day and just under 20 °C on average at night. Occasionally though, with winds blowing directly from Africa, temperatures rise steeply and 45 °C or a little more has been recorded in the past. Nights even can stay above 30 °C during these rare occasions!
Winters last from December to February with still mild temperatures of between 15 °C and 18 °C and rather chilly nights of 5 °C to 8 °C. This is also the wettest time of year, while summermonths can go by without a single drop of rain.

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Getting There

By Plane

Catania-Fontanarossa International Airport (CTA) is the main gateway to Catania if you are arriving or leaving by plane. Around 25 airlines serve the airport at the moment, though most of them only fly to one or a few cities. Currently, Catania-based Wind Jet has the most flights, including to Barcelona, Madrid, Malta, Milan-Linate, Moscow-Domodedovo, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Parma, Pisa, Rome-Fiumicino, Saint Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Turin, Venice and Verona. Other airlines include Transavia to Amsterdam, Thomson Airways to London, Brussels Airlines to Brussels, Aer Lingus to Dublin, Air Malta to Geneva, Air Berlin to Berlin, Munich and Zürich, Egyptair to Cairo, Luxor and Sharm el-Sheikh and several more airlines to cities lik Bucharest, Bratislava, Prague, Vienna, Pescara, Genoa and Naples.

To/from the airport
The airport is conveniently located close to the A19 motorway, which links Catania with Palermo and central Sicily, while the European route E45 runs to Syracuse in the south. A shuttle bus service provides transport into Catania city centre and the Central Train Station, while scheduled bus services to other parts of the island are also available direct from the airport.

By Train

Frequent trains connect Catania with Messina (2 hours), Siracusa (1.5 hours), Palermo (3.5 hours) and Agrigento (4.5 hours).

The Ferrovia Circumetnea train line circles Mount Etna, stopping at the towns and villages on the slopes of this impressive volcano.

By Car

Catania is easily reached from Messina along the A18 autostrada and from Palermo along the A19.

By Bus

Interbus has buses to Siracusa (75 minutes) and Taormina (1.5 hours), while AST offers bus connections througout the immediate region.
SAIS Autolinee has buses to Palermo (2.5 hours), Agrigento (3 hours), Messina (1.5 hours) and even one daily bus to Rome (14 hours).

By Boat

Malta

Mainland Italy

Sicily

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

The first metro line started in 1999 and it is currently active on a route of 3.8 kilometres, from the station Borgo in the north of Catania to the seaport, passing through the stations of Giuffrida, Italia, Galatea, and Central Station. Extensions, including one to the international airport and downtown Catania are planned and soon to be finished and opened.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
5 Balconi B&BVia Plebiscito n. 133, CataniaGuesthouse91
Agora HostelPiazza Currò, 6 Catania, (Mt Etna), 95121, SicilyHostel81
At Sveva Bed and BreakfastVia Reitano, 26A CataniaGuesthouse80
B&B Antico TeatroVia Santa Maria Delle Grazie n 32Guesthouse84
B&B BelliniVia Auteri n.26Guesthouse84
B&B Casa Tina MaugeriPiazza San Giovanni Bosco n 8 CataniaGuesthouse-
B&B Giuseppe VerdiVia Giuseppe Verdi 155 - cataniaGuesthouse-
B&B Inn CentroVia della Loggetta, 13 - CataniaGuesthouse-
B&B Porta Carlo VVia Auteri 26Guesthouse-
B&B StesicoroVia Neve, 7Guesthouse-
B&B Teatro BelliniVia Sant Orsola 30Guesthouse91
Bad B&B and DesignVia Cristoforo Colombo 24Guesthouse93
Barocco and Trinacriavia Naumachia 82 Via Abate Ferrara 22Apartment-
Bed and Breakfast OasisVia Gondar, 43 Acitrezza-Acicastello (Ct)Guesthouse-
Bianca Bed and BreakfastVia S. Tomaselli, 43Guesthouse-
BordigheraLargo Bordighera 3 BordigheraGuesthouse-
C.C.Ly HostelP.zza G.Falcone 3Hostel87
Casa MelinaVia Calatabiano 20 CataniaGuesthouse-
Catania City CenterVia naumachia 103Guesthouse83
City Lounge B&BVia Gagliani 13 Catania, SicilyGuesthouse93
Da Gianni e LuciaP.zza Stesicoro 59 CataniaGuesthouse82
Dai BeddiVia Nazionale 47Guesthouse-
De Curtis B&BVia Antonio De Curtis 30Guesthouse-
Globetrotter apartmentVico Marano 7Apartment81
Globetrotter B&BVicolo della Lanterna 14Guesthouse92
Holland International RoomsVia Vittorio Emanuele II, 8Guesthouse80
Hotel Villa RomeoVia Platamone, 8Hotel-
I vesprivia montesano 5Hotel87
Inn The GardenVia Etnea 700Guesthouse-
Katane DomusVia Celeste 113Guesthouse-
La GiaraViale della Regione n.12/a NicolosiGuesthouse91
La ZagaraVia Vittorio Emanuele 356Guesthouse-
Politi ResidenceVia Politi 12 Catania (Sicily) ITApartment-
Rapa NuiVia Gagliani, 13Guesthouse-
Sangiuliano 114 B&BVia Antonino di Sangiuliano n°114 CataniaGuesthouse83
SirtanusPiazza V. Lanza n.14Hostel94
Sol Sicily B&BVia Giovanni Di Prima 130Guesthouse70
XXMigliaVia Monsignor Ventimiglia 99Guesthouse-
YH Hostel Catania Ostello del PlebiscitoVia Plebiscito, 527Hostel-
La Casetta Sul VulcanoVia Calatafimi, 16 Belpasso (CT)Apartment-
Nettuno B&BVia Del Rotolo n°44/46GUESTHOUSE-
Venere B&BVia del Rotolo, 44/46GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel RubensVia Etna 196Hotel88
Al Mare in CittàVia Messina 268Guesthouse89
Hotel NovecentoVia Mons. VentimigliaHotel91
B&B Sotto Il VulcanoVia Mompilieri traversa Via Mompilieri, Traversa V, SP NicolosiaGuesthouse94
CasaPaja Bed & BreakfastVia E. De Nicola, 3 Belpasso - NicolosiGuesthouse-
San Demetrio RoomsVia Etnea 55GUESTHOUSE-
B&B La TenutaVia Pizzo Maugeri 28 ValverdeGuesthouse-
Sicily HouseVia Sgroi 5Apartment-
Suite Inn CataniaVia Vittorio Emanuele II 108Guesthouse-
Rigel HotelViale Libertà 63Hotel-
Acitrezza InnVia Livorno 97Apartment-
Hotel GresiVia Pacini 28Hotel-
Amenano Bed & BreakfastVia Bicocca 24GUESTHOUSE-
B&B Palazzo ZappalaVia Gisira n.29GUESTHOUSE-
San Michele InnViale Della Liberta 198Guesthouse87
Hotel Villa MaterVia Bottego Vittorio, 10Hotel84
Catania City Center ApartmentsVia Naumachia 103Apartment90
B&B OperaVia A. di Sangiuliano 129GUESTHOUSE91
B&B XeniosPiazza Manganelli 13GUESTHOUSE87
Ivana B&BM. Ventimiglia,10GUESTHOUSE-
B&B GaribaldiVia Pozzo Molino 15GUESTHOUSE-
Elios RoomsVia Manzoni, 81 CataniaGuesthouse93
B&B PiconeVia Umberto I 104GUESTHOUSE-
B&B Al CastelloVia Plebiscito, 237GUESTHOUSE-
B&B Le 3 BVia Plebiscito n.418GUESTHOUSE-
Sul Molo B&BPiazza dei Martiri 3GUESTHOUSE-
Angel's HousePiazza Federico di Svevia 48Guesthouse-
Soprano Home B&BVia Antonino Di Sangiuliano 118GUESTHOUSE-
HostelRooms VergaVia Minoriti n° 10 95124 CataniaGUESTHOUSE96
Eolo B&BVia Vittorio Emanuele 201GUESTHOUSE-
Eolo 2 B&BVia Platamone 7GUESTHOUSE-
San MaxVia Etnea 329Guesthouse-
Casa Barbero Charme B&BVia Caronda 209GUESTHOUSE-
B&B Abaco SiciliaVia Luigi Sturzo 142, 95131 CataniaGUESTHOUSE-
Catania In CentroVia Pistone 5Guesthouse-
Valentivia francesco guicciardini 38,TrecastagniApartment-
Foglie SparseViale mario rapisardi 331 cataniaApartment-
B&B LogninaViale Alcide De Gasperi 241GUESTHOUSE-
Spacious Loft Cyclops Coast Hillsvia Fontana 29 Valverde - AcicastelloApartment-
Il CaravaggioV. le Vittorio Veneto 15 CataniaGuesthouse-
Costa del SoleVia Libeccio, 50APARTMENT-
Oasi del FiumefreddoVia Marina 29, Fiumefreddo di SiciliaAPARTMENT-
Antica Profumeria Bed and Breakfastvia Erasmo Merletta, 19 (ang. P.zza Duomo)GUESTHOUSE-
A Casa di Marcovia Acicastello 15GUESTHOUSE-
Sicilia HomeCorso Sicilia 10HOTEL89
Villa GiovannettaVia del Plebiscito 493GUESTHOUSE-
La circumetnea B&BVia Chiuse Lunghe 39GUESTHOUSE-
B&B PegasusVia Badalà 21 95013 Fiumefreddo di SiciliaGUESTHOUSE-
I Tre Mestierivia del Mandorlo, 5 Tremestieri EtneoGUESTHOUSE-
Ciuri Ciurivia Luigi Capuana 88GUESTHOUSE-
B&B AloisioVia Palermo 21 San Gregorio di CataniaGUESTHOUSE-
B&B Lanza CataniaVia Etnea, 263GUESTHOUSE-
B&B Alex CataniaVia Aloi 36 CataniaGUESTHOUSE-
CivitasbebVia Vittorio Emanuele II n. 90GUESTHOUSE-
Four RoomsVia Monserrato, 9GUESTHOUSE-
Antica DimoraVia Plebiscito, 23GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel MeleVia Leonardi 24HOTEL-
Catania Crossing B&B Rooms & ComfortsVia Teocrito 14GUESTHOUSE82
Etna Bed & BreakfastXII Traversa 116 BelpassoGUESTHOUSE-
Etnaelegancevia Porto Marretti 2 MascaluciaGUESTHOUSE-
AgribagnaraContrada CardinaleAPARTMENT-
B&B Residenza UmbertoVia Umberto 78GUESTHOUSE-
Piccadilly HousePiazza Vincenzo Bellini 2GUESTHOUSE-
Al Duomo InnVia Vittorio Emanuele IIGUESTHOUSE-
B&B Bella StellaVia Vittorio Emanuele 319 CataniaGUESTHOUSE-
Bmode GuesthouseVia Vittorio Emanuele II, 108GUESTHOUSE-
B&B GraziellaVia Carlo Felice Gambino, 22GUESTHOUSE-
Aloi RoomsVia Aloi 39GUESTHOUSE-
Ciclopino ApartmentsVia Litteri Aci CastelloAPARTMENT-
Historic Centre Ensuite CataniaVia Spampinato 23GUESTHOUSE-
Hotel BiscariVia Anzalone 7HOTEL-
Hotel San Michele InnViale della Libert 198HOTEL-
Villaggio Turistico EuropeoViale Kennedy 91CAMPSITE76

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Learn

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 37.502812
  • Longitude: 15.0883146

Contributors

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This is version 11. Last edited at 9:14 on Jun 28, 13 by Utrecht. 28 articles link to this page.

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