The bus from Siracusa only took about an hour and the ride was pleasant as we were able to see Mt Eta from the road as we approached the city of Catania.
The bus area is conveniently located in Catania and it was only about a 20 minute walk to our Airbnb.
Where to Eat/Drink:
This vegan restaurant was recommended to us by a Syracusan when we told him we were going to Catania the next day. I love how there is a vegan food fad currently spreading across Italy. Of all the restaurants in Catania to recommend, he picked a vegan one and we were completely okay with that! The restaurant is really cute and there is one very long table which everyone shares. Sicilian culture has very little regard for personal space but I enjoyed eating next to strangers here! The menu was entirely in Italian and most of the words we had absolutely no idea what they said. There was a list of starters and a list of entrees. You could choose one of each for about 10 Euros. I think I could make out one word of the two lengthy descriptions for the food I ordered. My combination of seitan and an asian cabbage salad ending up complementing each other well so I got quite lucky.
Before leaving Italy we had to try more Italian craft beer of course, and this was our last opportunity. The location is a bit out of the way and perhaps a bit of a rougher area but the atmosphere of the bar is nice and cozy and pretty hip and the staff was really friendly. I enjoyed talking to one of the bartenders about the beer scene in Italy and how craft beer has really taken off. They also served food but we didn’t try it.
We were also recommended this wine bar by the Syracusan man we met before heading to Catania. It was a perfect place to sit outside in the evening and people watch and of course the wine was delicious!
Sites to See:
This is the main square of the city and a beautiful place to sit at one of the many bars/cafes to enjoy a coffee. The Catania Cathedral is gorgeous and in the center you will see the symbol of Catania, a lava-stone statue of an elephant, topped by an obelisk at the center of a marble fountain. You may even catch an art class in progress and get to enjoy students painting canvases.
With its foundation dating back to the 16th century, this is one of Europe’s largest monasteries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We were able to visit the monastery for free and learned that we would be charged for a tour but the only tours were in Italian, so we opted to wander around by ourselves. The map we were given was not incredibly useful and we were walking around aimlessly for an hour or so checking out the old hallways and the little garden in the courtyard. We didn’t see a single other person the entire time. When we went to leave the building from where we had entered, it seemed as though the door was locked shut. I started freaking out and assumed they had locked the door because we hadn’t seen anyone else but finally we got it open.
A nice park in the city center with some greenery and it is also the oldest urban park in the city. There is a floral calendar that changes each day and a lot of busts of famous Italian men that unfortunately have seen better times because of vandalism, etc. It is worth visiting for its history and it is a quiet place to sit for a bit on a nice day.
This is a beautiful theatre that cannot be missed! Even if you aren’t able to go inside, it is worth admiring from the piazza out front.
Entrance was free and we were able to just walk down to the ruins. It was cold and dark and since we were the only ones underground, a bit spooky.
Although not a traditional site in Catania, at the top floor of the hotel is a restaurant with a gorgeous view of Mt. Etna. When we went to the top, the restaurant was closed but we hung out for a second to enjoy the view of the mountain. It worked out well because we were just planning on ordering a glass of juice since we had just eaten breakfast.