catania attractions
Last updated: 7 December 2023

Attractions in Catania: 9 things to see recommended by those who live there

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Guide to Catania's attractions: our blog reveals the hidden treasures of this Sicilian city.

Catania is a city rich in history and attractionswhere lovers of culture and art can certainly not be bored. Le things to see in Catania are many, but discovering this fascinating city through the eyes of those who live there is an unparalleled experience.

That's why we asked people living in Catania to recommend 9 attractions in the city they absolutely must see. In this article, we will explore the attractions of Cataniasuggested not only by tourist guides, but by those who breathe the essence of the city on a daily basis.

Exploring Catania following the advice of its inhabitants is a unique opportunity to discover hidden treasures and fully experience the authenticity of this charming Sicilian city.

Ferrini Home, a company in the fine hospitality sector in the historic centre of Catania, is ready to welcome you and make your stay an unforgettable experience. Now, starting right from the centre of Cataniawhere the Ferrini Home flats are located, we will see what the sights to see.

1. Bellini Theatre of Catania

bellini theatre catania
Photos of Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

The Massimo Bellin Theatrei, inaugurated back in 1890, is an authentic jewel in the heart of Catania, a hub of musical life and one of the most enchanting attractions of Catania. Positioned majestically in Piazza Vincenzo Bellini, this theatre boasts a capacity of approx. 1200 places and impeccable acoustics. Every year, the Massimo Bellini Theatre welcomes music lovers with an opera and ballet season, a symphonic season and a chamber season, offering an eclectic repertoire to satisfy the most refined tastes. The show is not just limited to performances on stage; the interior of the theatre is a riot of ornaments and decorations allegorical, characterised by a rich and elegant style. This venue is not only a venue for first-class concerts and performances, but also an attraction to visit to immerse yourself in its timeless artistic and architectural beauty.

2. Catania Underground Attractions

This really is the gem of attractions of Catania. We are talking about the Catania Underground. It is a fascinating historic labyrintho, a real hidden city that reveals its richness through the different eras. In Catania subterranean you can see remains of sumptuous Roman domus and vast spa complexesdecorated with mosaics and fine stucco by Roman era. But the layering continues with medieval and modern Catania, frozen under the traces of the 1669 eruption and the 1693 earthquake. A unique element of underground Catania is its river, the Amenano, which flows mysteriously beneath the city.

For visitors are organised guided tours that allow following the thread of history through a little-known Catania and sometimes even obliterated, such as the necropolis complex with two early Christian basilicas.

3. Elephant Catania

The elephant is the symbol of the city of Catania. It is called the LiotruHeliodorus' magic elephant, and is located in Piazza Duomo where it continues to enchant and intrigue visitors who admire it.

elephant of catania
Photos of Maria Bobrova at Unsplash

Its fascinating history is intertwined with mystery and magic, as it is said that the curious name "Liotru" is related to Heliodorusa personage who lived around 725 A.D., during the time when Catania was a Byzantine province of the Eastern Roman Empire.

It is said that Heliodorus had magic powers and that thanks to these he built an elephant using lava from Etnathe volcano symbol of Sicily. Riding this magical creature, Heliodorus played tricks and mischief in the city, becoming a figure as feared as he was enigmatic. It is said that the elephant was even used on his travels from Catania to Constantinople.

Today the elephant in Piazza Duomo is the symbol of Catania and is certainly among the attractions from see in the city.

4. Fish Market Catania: the fish market or Piscaria

Photo by Giovana Spiller from Pexels

A Piscariaone of the picturesque Historical fish markets of Catania, represents uan unmissable stage for those who wish to immerse themselves in the authenticity and vibrancy of the city.

Located south-west of Piazza Duomo, access to this charming market is marked by the majestic Amenano fountainsculpted by the Neapolitan artist Tito Angelini. Beyond this splendid creation, one finds oneself catapulted into the Catania fish market.

The birth of the fish market as an authentic market dates back to the second half of the 19th century, and its location is closely linked to the Amenano River. Today, the stalls selling fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and local produce create a unique atmosphere, while the loggia of the Seminario dei Chierici and the Porta di Carlo V are tangible evidence of the history that has shaped this fascinating corner of Catania.

Today the fish market in Catania is also visited by many international tourists who always appreciate its authenticity. La Piscaria continues to be a lively and authentic placewhere the charm of the market mixes with the history of the city.

5. Catania churches: religious-themed attractions

A Catania there are many churches of the historic centre that deserve to be visited. We have collected in this list the most beautiful churches to see, as well as the Catania Cathedral which we still advise you not to miss.

  1. Cathedral of St AgathaMajestic and imposing, it is named after the city's patron saint. The contrast between the white and grey marble creates a unique visual spectacle and its celebration on 5 February is an event not to be missed.
  2. Church of San PlacidoThe church of San Placido, located in the square of the same name near the cathedral, dates back to 1409, was razed to the ground in the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in the 18th century. During the celebrations in honour of Saint Agatha, it becomes an unmissable site.
  3. Collegiate Churchna of the oldest churches in Catania, the Collegiata, dating back to the first centuries AD, was almost entirely destroyed in 1963. Rebuilt by Antonio Amato, it retains a timeless charm.
  4. Abbey of Sant'AgataOverlooking Via Vittorio Emanuele, the Badia di Sant'Agata is considered the Vaccarini's artistic masterpiece. A jewel of Sicilian Baroque style, it offers the possibility of admiring the city from its terraces.
  5. Church of St Benedictlocated at the beginning of Via Crociferi, the Church of San Benedetto is an example of late baroque in Catania. Built immediately after the 1693 earthquake, together with the arch of St Benedict, it is a symbol of rebirth.
  6. Church of Sant'Agata al CarcereIn the centre of the S. Carcere square, the Church of Sant'Agata al Carcere is shrouded in a legend that you can discover by visiting it.
  7. St. Francis Immaculate ChurchThe Church of St Francis, known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, is a 18th-century jewel with chiaroscuro effects and works of sacred art, preserving six of the eleven 'candelore' of the feast of Saint Agatha.
  8. Church of St Julianconsidered the 'pearl' of 18th century reconstruction, the Church of San Giuliano, attributed to Vaccarini, enchants with its architectural beauty. It is located on Via Crociferi, also known as the street of churches.
  9. St Nicholas Church One of the largest in Sicily, the Church of San Nicolò has a troubled history. Destroyed by eruptions and an earthquake, its visit is a must to admire the gold and wood organ and an ancient sundial.

6. Benedictine Monastery in Catania

The Benedictine monasterya jewel of late Sicilian Baroque, is an example of harmonious architectural integration between different eras. This among the attractions of Catania most beautiful is not to be missed. Its beauty is priceless enough to be included in the illustrious UNESCO World Heritage List.

Its fascinating history began as far back as 1558. After more than a century of different destinations, including the Astronomical Observatory, educational establishments and a barracks, the monastery has been recognised as a Work of Contemporary Architecture by the Sicilian Region and Since 1977 it has been home to the Faculty of Humanities.

The discovery of Roman residential mosaics in the 16th-century basement adds an extra layer of charm, masterfully integrated with the contemporary suspended structures.

7. Botanical Garden of Catania

catania botanical garden
Photos of Julia Tautorat from Pixabay

L'Botanical Garden of the University of Catania, founded in 1858 thanks to the initiative of the Benedictine monk-librarian Francesco Tornabene Roccaforte, is a veritable treasure trove of biodiversity that preserves its original structure intact. Today it is one of Catania's most special attractions to visit.

L'Catania Botanical Garden covers an area of approximately 16,000 m² and is divided into the General Garden and the Siculo Garden. It preserves an extraordinary floral wealth, with cthematic collections and plants of great value and rarity. The garden is also home to valuable trees, such as Taxodium mucronatum, Phytolacca dioica, Maclura pomifera, or the Eucalyptus citriodora.

L'Orto Siculowith its collection of wild plants from the island, constitutes the most peculiar sector, hosting typical local tree species. Truly a gem!

8. Palazzo Biscari in Catania

Biscari Palace is the most illustrious private palace in Catania and represents a place full of charm and elegance for the city. Its frescoed halls create a magnificent setting suitable for various events such as concerts, meetings, receptions, galas and fashion shows. This building, together with the Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena, constitutes an icon of 18th-century architecture in Catania. So you absolutely must visit it if you are in Catania.

Built on a section of the 16th-century city walls, Biscari Palace has a history that begins immediately after the 1693 earthquake, when Ignazio Paternò Castello III Prince of Biscari obtained permission to erect the palace. Still partly owned by the family's descendants, the palace hosts prestigious social and cultural events in its main halls, which retain the atmosphere of a bygone era.

Its history, fascinating surroundings and participation in cultural events make Biscari Palace a unique and evocative place to visit in Catania.

9. Catania's Fun Attractions: Spa and Etnaland

Photos of Mariakray from Pixabay

If you are looking for attractions in Catania for fun at couple or in familyyou absolutely must consider a beautiful relaxing spa or one trip to Etnalandthe water park most famous and largest in Sicily.

As for the SPA and wellness centres, you can find some in the city centre and others in the surrounding areas or on the slopes of Etna for absolute relaxation. Le Spas in Catania are between the best in Sicily, offer unparalleled relaxation and wellness experiences. Letting yourself be soothed by waterfalls and whirlpools, purifying your skin with Turkish baths and saunas, following relaxing paths and enjoying a variety of beauty treatments and relaxing massages are just some of the options available in the Catania Spa. The range of wellness centres in and around Catania adds to the other wonders of this place.

But if you are looking for a really fun attraction even for the youngestthem, we recommend a trip to Etnaland!

Etnaland, the prestigious Sicilian amusement park located at the foot of the majestic volcano Etna and located short distance from Catania. It is a renowned water park, which has become a landmark for the summer fun in Sicily of young and old. Among the most popular slides and attractions are Wild River, Big Foam, Rafting River, Stukas, Rio Anaconda, as well as one of Europe's largest wave pools and the Miniland area for the little ones.

In 2013Etnaland has embarked on a new adventure with the creation of Themepark Amusement Park with merry-go-rounds, roller coasters and plenty of entertainment for the little ones.

Travel to Catania: Ferrini Home will make your holiday special

If you want to take a trip to discover Sicilian traditions and culture without giving up the fun, Catania is the ideal place to spend a holiday.

If you do not know where to sleep in the centre of Catania and you are looking for something refined but functional, the solutions by Ferrini Home might be right for you. 

The flats e suites Ferrini Home not only offer functionality, comfort and premium design, but also a strategic location in the historic city centre which will allow you to visit all the main attractions in Catania.

🥰 We are ready to welcome you and make your trip to Sicily unforgettable: Book now!

✨ You might also be interested: What to see in Catania in a day

If you are planning your trip to Sicily and still don't know where to stay in Catania, you can book one of our flats or one of our suites in Catania city centre now. We will be happy to find the most suitable solution for you and your family so that you can enjoy an unforgettable, stress-free holiday in Sicily.

To see our facilities, visit our dedicated page or 
contact us at the following addresses: +39 348 1137291 - info@ferrinihome.com

We are waiting for you in Sicily, where our hospitality will make you feel at home!
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