Catania’s history is connected with Etna, the highest European volcano.
The name derives from the Sicilian word “Katane”, and in the past the city was inhabited by the ancient peoples of Sicily such as the Sicani, the Elmi and the Siculi, before the arrival of the Greeks from whose language it will take its name: Catania derives from the apposition Katà which means near or leaning against the name of the volcano (in Greek Aitnè) on whose slopes the city rises several times devastated by earthquakes and lava eruptions. Among all, we remember that of 1669, the year in which the lava as well as reaching the inhabited centers reached the sea redesigning the morphology of the territory, characterizing what are today its cliffs.
Homeland of the musician Vincenzo Bellini, from whose work the typical Catania dish takes its name, “pasta alla norma“, Catania is also the city of writers such as Giovanni Verga, Luigi Capuana, Ercole Patti, Federico De Roberto or the journalist Giuseppe Fava.
Crossed by the Simeto river, the city is surrounded by the orange groves of the Catania Plain.
Declared together with its volcano World Heritage Site by Unesco, Catania is dominated by baroque churches in the historic center, in particular via Crociferi, which overlook five churches, such as the San benedetto’s Church, Palazzo Asmundo Francica-Nava, with the wonderful roof garden, and the Church of San Francesco Borgia, where the great composer Vincenzo Bellini played the organ. The Massimo Bellini theater and Villa Bellini, the main city park, are dedicated to the author of the Norm.
There are many clubs and restaurants that animate the Catania nightlife: pubs, pizzerias, cafes, places frequented by young people who move to La Playa in summer, the 5 km long sandy beach crowded with bathing establishments. The seafront of Catania with cycle paths instead includes the historic port of the city, the port of Ognina. Walking on the promenade you reach the small bay of San Giovanni Licuti typical for its lava sand and where the people of Catania bathe even in winter.