Summer has arrived, welcome to Sicily! Are you ready to discover one of the most important cities and the most famous European volcano? Sicilian Secrets brings you to Catania and of course to Mount Etna. It’s time to pack…enjoy your trip.
Sicily is a great mix of cultures, history, traditions and nature of course. When you travel to the east coast, right in front of the Ionian Sea, you cannot miss Catania. It is the second largest city of Sicily and its old town besides being one of the biggest examples of baroque architecture in Italy, is a World Heritage Site, protected by UNESCO.
Let’s learn something more…
Catania dates back to the VII century BC when Chalcidians founded it. It was a Greek colony and later, in the First Punic War, was one of the first Sicilian cities that made their submission to the Romans. The Renaissance (XIV century) was a great period for Catania that became one of the most important Italian cultural, artistic and political centers. It’s not a coincidence if in 1434, the first university in Sicily was founded in this city.
Once you get in Catania don’t miss…
Do you know what u Liotru is? Guess… Too difficult? It’s the symbol of Catania! Everybody calls it even Fontana dell’Elefante because of the elephant topped by an Egyptian obelisk. It was assembled by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini in 1736 but there are many legends about this statue. They say, for example, that his sculptor was a nobleman called Heliodorus and he used his creation to magically ride it in his travels from Catania to Constantinople. Can you believe it? Of course, once you visit the city with Sicilian Secrets, you will learn more. You are curious, aren’t you?
There’s a lot to see in the city! One of the ‘jewels’ is the Cathedral that was rebuilt after the earthquake in 1693. It’s a great example of Baroque architecture and is dedicated to Saint Agatha, the patron of the city who is celebrated every year with a religious pageantry on February 5th.
Don’t forget to put Castello Ursino in your bucket list. It was built in Middle Ages and became the seat of the Sicilian Parliament during Sicilian Vespers. Today everybody can visit the castle since it’s a museum that houses many artifacts and artwork that date back from the Classical era onward and represent the different influences throughout Sicilian history.
And if you love music, your last stop must be the opera house in Catania: the Teatro Massimo Bellini. Here is a fun fact: the opera house has performed almost all of Bellini’s work and 1951, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Bellini, Maria Callas sang Norma, repeating her success in 1952 and 1953.
From Catania to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe outside the Caucasus. It represents both a danger and a resource for the area, moreover in June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Etna is one of the main Sicilian tourist attractions since it’s the perfect spot to ski in winter, hike and relax. I’m sure you want to know more, so follow Sicilian Secrets because soon we are gonna talk about Sicily and volcanos.
…and don’t miss the opportunity to visit the island with Dimensione Sicilia…stay tuned!