Best attractions in Catania: Top 25

If you decide to see the sights of Catania on your own without hiring a guide, develop a sightseeing itinerary beforehand. Use our overview: we will tell you what every tourist should see in Catania.

What to see in Catania first?

In compiling the rating “the most interesting places in Catania,” we took into account the reviews and recommendations of experienced guides and travelers. In our general opinion, the following excursions in Catania deserve your attention first of all:

1. Volcano Etna

Volcano Etna and the city of Catania in the foreground on the east coast of Sicily BenAveling

A natural site that is included in all the lists of “major attractions in Italy“. It is possible to climb its slopes on foot. Guides in Catania will tell you how to do it and accompany you by jeep or cable car. If you organize a trip on your own, you will not have to pay to see the craters. At the bottom of the volcano are souvenir stores that sell lava products from Etna. Note that the same material was used to create many of the buildings and residences in the city.

2. Cathedral Square

The famous "Elephant" fountain in Cathedral Square in Catania Luca Aless

If you don’t know what to see in Catania in 1 day, come to the main city square. Piazza del Duomo was designed by D. B. Vaccarini himself. There are the Elephant Fountain and the main city hall of Catania, created in the 18th century, as well as the Cathedral and the Porta Uzzeda. Your trip will be unforgettable if you explore the square at night. In the evening and at night, the lights illuminate, coloring each building in its own colors.

3. Fish Market

Gifts of the sea at the popular Catania Fish Market jim
Sea urchins and other fresh seafood at Catania Fish Market

After seeing the sights of Catania, go shopping. At the city fish market you will find all kinds of fish from the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, as well as octopus, squid, shrimp of different sizes and any other “sea creatures”. In addition, there are meat, alcohol, fruits and vegetables, cheeses and olives on the shelves. The question of where to go in Catania for the freshest products, you will not have to ask.

4. Via Etnea

Via Etnea - Sightseeing in Catania Historic Sicilian Baroque buildings on Via Etnea in Catania Luca Aless

The main street of the central part of Catania, arranged back in the 17th century. On each side of the alley, lined with stones of solidified lava, stretch beautiful Baroque buildings, temples and commercial facilities.

5. Via Crociferi

The old Catholic churches on Via Crociferi in Catania Urban~commonswiki

This avenue is also decorated with ancient churches and buildings with a rich history. Most of the buildings date back to the 17th century and are also in the Baroque style. Just like the rest of Catania, Sicily is proud of Via Crociferi, calling it “the pearl of Sicilian architecture”.

See the beautiful places of Catania in this wonderful video!

6. St. Agatha’s Cathedral

Facade of the Cathedral of Sant'Agata in Cathedral Square Elio Bonanno

The main architectural masterpiece of the city, created in the 16th century to replace the temple destroyed by an earthquake, contains the relics of the Great Martyr Agatha and the tombs of the most famous personalities of Italy - the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily and later of the State, Cardinal Dusmet, the legendary architect V. Bellini. The facade of the cathedral is decorated with beautiful sculptures and slabs of expensive marble. At the entrance are many plaques depicting scenes from the life of St. Agatha.

7. Church of St. Nicholas

The unfinished building of the Church of Saint Nicholas in the historic center of Catania Nicolò Arena

The largest religious building in Sicily, with a rather unusual appearance. The church began to receive parishioners in the 17th century, but in the same century it was almost entirely destroyed by Etna. The main “highlights” of the site are considered to be its facade and the colonnade, which was not destroyed by the earthquake. The sumptuous interior is also noteworthy. You can visit the best sights of Catania with a guide.

8. Church of San Benedetto

The 18th century Church of Saint Benedetto Gerry Labrijn

One of the major architectural treasures of the Christians, the construction of which began in the 17th century and lasted for a decade. At some point the building passed into the ownership of the city’s Benedictine community. The façade of the church, its balustrades, colonnades and staircases, showcase the beauty of the Baroque style. Beneath the vault of the building is a unique painting from the mid-18th century by D. Tukkari. According to local beliefs, it is from this temple by a hidden passage you can reach the monastery of St. Nicholas.

9. Collegiate Basilica

Statues of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Agatha, St. Apollonia on the front of the church Cosal

Another historical and architectural monument in the Baroque style. The facade of the basilica is particularly impressive. The columns of the first row are decorated with a magnificent balustrade, on the next level there is a huge window, further on there are figures of great martyrs, including the sculpture of the patroness of the city, St. Agatha. On the upper level is a bell tower with beautiful frescoes depicting scenes of the lives of the saints and Our Lady.

10. Benedictine Monastery

The area of the former Benedictine Monastery in Catania MonasteroBenedettini1CT.JPG

The site is protected by UNESCO. The date of construction of the religious masterpiece is 1355 (in the 18th century the building was extensively restored). One of the main symbols of Catania is the arch, which is part of the complex of this monastery. According to local residents and guides, it took the clergy only one night to create the temple. Now inside there is a museum, among the exhibits of which are the best works of modern art. Visitors to the site will be able to view ancient halls restored to their original appearance, as well as see an ancient Roman house found during archaeological excavations under the building.

11. Roman Amphitheater

View of the Roman Amphitheater of Catania from Stesicoro Square AnfiteatroRomanoCT.JPG

The date of construction is second century, the materials of construction are brick and stone of solidified lava. You can see the amphitheater, located on the outskirts of the city and designed to receive 150,000 guests at a time, completely free of charge. At a certain time, having lost its original purpose, the amphitheater was turned into a quarry. At the end of the 17th century it was leveled to the ground by an earthquake. It was not discovered during excavations until the 19th century.

12. Odeon

Ruins of the Roman Theatre and Odeon among modern buildings in Catania
Roman Odeon (theater for rehearsals) II - III century AD in Catania Archeo

If you don’t know what to visit in Catania, come to the central part of the city. There is a Roman theater with an auditorium for 7,000 guests. The diameter of the building from the first century AD is over a hundred meters. The capacity of the Odeon, later added to the theater, was 1,500 people. In the 6th century the structures fell into disrepair. During the Middle Ages the decor, blocks and walls began to be dismantled for the construction of the church. The construction of streets in the vicinity of the theater and the Odeon put an end to the destruction of the complex.

13. Allied Landing Museum in Sicily

The Historical Museum of Allied Landing in Sicily

The museum complex was opened to commemorate how Sicily was conquered and then liberated from the Mussolini regime in 1943. Among the exhibits are items that tell the wartime story and the operation itself: archives, copies of the weapons of the two armies, soldiers’ uniforms, photographs, etc.

14. House Museum of Giovanni Verga

Saved personal belongings of Italian writer Giovanni Verga in a museum in Catania Inviaggiocommons

The building where the famous writer, who created in his own style of “verismo”, once lived. The creators of the museum were able to preserve and recreate the environment that was in the house when D. Verga was alive. Some of the furnishings were brought in from the writer’s Milan dwelling.

15. Diocesan Museum

The Catania Diocesan Museum in the building of the Seminary of the Clergy in Catania Luca Aless

The museum exhibitions contain a large number of the most precious relics of Christianity. The objects on display are clothes, sculptures, and artistic paintings. The atmosphere of the museum is very special: even the pieces of furniture have a history of centuries. The renovated building of the Diocesan Museum, built in 1965, and its many decorations deserve close attention. If you are fascinated by history and architecture, you should definitely take a look at the majestic building.

16. The Massimo Bellini Theatre

Fountain in front of the Massimo Bellini Opera House in Catania Louisvhn

The idea of creating an opera stage of its own in the city was first raised by the authorities of Catania at the beginning of the 19th century. But construction work did not begin until 1890. The first opera performed there was Norma. The theater building is in the Baroque style. In the foyer, there is a statue of Bellini, and the ceiling in the main hall is painted with scenes from the maestro’s most famous works.

17. Pupi Fratelli Napoli Museum and Theatre

Traditional Sicilian puppets in the museum at the Pupi Fratelli Napoli Theatre in Catania Lucarelli
Puppet puppet show at the Pupi Fratelli Napoli Theatre Bjs

The original marionette puppet theater, made famous at the beginning of the 20th century. The first productions were devoted to knightly tournaments. The modern themes of Opera dei pupi are much more extensive. The Marionette theater ticket is offered by many hotels in Catania, as well as by private guides.

18. Toy Museum

An old doll of the unique collection of the Toy Museum

The attraction is located in the center of Catania, not far from the main city square. The complex began its work in 2002. The displays include toys of various kinds and sizes, collected from all over Sicily.

19. Ursino Castle

The strong walls and towers of Ursino Castle in Catania Luca Aless

A 12th-century palace that now houses an art gallery and a museum of the city’s history. In the list of exhibits there are ceramics, sculptures, ancient weapons and ancient mosaics, paintings and other artifacts. On the study of all samples of artistic culture and history should be given a whole day.

20. Palazzo Biscari

The main hall (Hall of Celebrations) is Rococo with mirrors, moldings and frescoes in Palazzo Biscari Rabe!

A luxurious palace built in the 18th century. Many of the most famous masters of the time worked on the building, including Battaglia and Benedetto. The architectural style of the building is ornate and opulent Rococo. Both the exterior and the interiors are full of chic decorative details, originally intended to indicate the wealth of the Biscari family.

Catania sights: what else to visit in Catania?

We have told you about the main attractions of Catania briefly. If you have already traveled through the hospitable Sicilian city and have seen them, visit sites such as:

21. The Botanical Gardens

The Succulent Plant Collection at the Botanical Garden of the University of Catania Esculapio

The attraction is owned by the City University. The date of the improvement of the area is the 19th century. The area of the botanical garden is divided into several zones. In the first part you can see the flora of Sicily, including dozens of exotic palms and over 2,000 plants, and in the second part you can see plants from all over the world. In good weather, not only tourists but also locals like to relax here.

22. Park “Villa Bellini”

Panorama of the ancient park "Villa Bellini" popular with locals and tourists of Catania

The complex is placed on several mountain peaks, united by stairs and alleys. It should be visited for leisurely strolls among the many exotic trees and flowers, original sculptures, artificial ponds and noisy fountains.

23. San Giovanni Li Kuti Beach

The rocky and stony beach of San Giovanni Li Kuti in Catania

A rocky strip created by the frozen magma of Etna. The entrance to the water is hampered by rocks (a special descent is installed only in tourist season), so it is not recommended to come here with children for bathing. The beach infrastructure is not developed. Sufficiently secluded area, which is famous for its scenic views and magnificent nature.

24. Lido Azzurro beach

A view of the sandy beach of Lido Azzurro or Azure Beach on a sunny Sicilian day

A landscaped beach line with paid and free services and entertainment. According to locals, Azzurra is the best beach of the entire coast. The large area has children’s and adult playgrounds, small cafes overlooking the sea and souvenir shops.

25. Etnaland Amusement Park

The open-air Etnaland Amusement Park on the island of Sicily Orazio2004Mascali

A huge entertainment center nestled at the foot of a volcano and an extensive shopping area. A relatively new complex is recommended for the whole family. There is a dino-park with “real” moving and roaring dinosaurs and a water park with all kinds of water attractions. In addition, guests of “Etnaland” can visit the incredibly colorful laser shows.

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We hope that you will want to see in person those attractions of Catania, photos with names and descriptions, about which we have now told. Read also about sights of Rimini and be inspired for further travel in Italy.

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