Catania has a stupendous collection of dark-hued Baroque architecture, watched over by the looming presence of volcanic Mount Etna. Explore the Amphitheatre, Theatre and other Roman ruins, and experience the rowdy vitality of the city's busy fish market.
Perched on the east coast of Sicily a few miles from Mount Etna, Catania is constructed from the black lava that enveloped the medieval city when Etna erupted in 1669 an earthquake in 1693 finished the destruction. Admire the uniform collection of Baroque buildings and Catania's icon, the Elephant Fountain on Piazza del Duomo square, also made from black lava. You'll pass a string of dusky buildings as you make your way along Via Etnea, Catania's main shopping and dining street. Mount Etna continues to make its presence felt, smoking and occasionally belching lava and ash.
Drop into the Cathedral on Piazza del Duomo to see the tomb of the famous Catania-born composer, Massimo Bellini. Learn more about Bellini at the Massimo Bellini Theatre, one of Europe's finest opera houses, and the Bellini Museum, housed in the building where the composer was born in 1801. Pick up picnic supplies from Catania's boisterous fish market and nearby produce market. Then take a walk along Via Etnea to join locals relaxing by the tree-lined walkways and fountains of the Villa Bellini Gardens.
Delve deeper into Roman Catania at excavation sites around town and with a visit to the Amphitheatre. Explore Catania's Civic Museum housed in the austere Ursino Castle guarding the port - one of the few medieval buildings to survive the 17th-century eruptions of Mount Etna. At night, head to clubs on Via Crociferi and bars clustered round the city's nocturnal hub, the Scalinata Alessi steps. See what's on at the Massimo Bellini Theatre Bellini's opera Norma is frequently performed here, in the heart of the composer's home town.