This UNESCO World Heritage city has welcomed the civilizations of Greece, Rome, Byzantium, the Moors and the Spanish in its 2,700-year history. That means some amazing architecture and a fascinating cultural heritage that’s best experienced in the food.
It’s great to wander the streets at random, but try to make time for the Baroque Duomo in the square with the famous Fontana dell'Elefante. The atmospheric fish market (la pescheria), the churches of via Crociferi, and the Roman amphitheater at Piazza Stesicoro are also highlights. The Castello Ursino is an impressive thirteenth-century castle with an archeological museum, while on Piazza Dante you can see the remains of the Monastero dei Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena incorporated into the building of Catania’s university.
The food here is really something else. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the black pudding (il sanguinaccio) and meat jelly (zuzzu) with a glass of zibibbo. The stuffed rice balls (arancini) are highly recommended, as is the puff-pastry-mozarella-and-ham creation known as the cipollina. Horsemeat balls may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’ll probably want to try the Sicilian cassatelle: cannoli made with ricotta and almond paste. There are also a number of excellent wineries on the slopes of Mount Etna. Buon appetito!
Speaking of Etna, Europe's largest active volcano is a must-see if it’s behaving itself when you visit. The volcanic landscapes and views from the top are fantastic, and brave souls can walk the final meters to the very lip of the caldera.