Facing the Ionian Sea, Catania lies under the shade of Mount Etna. It has been Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Swabian, Angevin, Aragonese, Spanish and, in its 2700 years of history, has experienced periods of splendor that are still visible in its nearby villages and this makes it unique.
Today visitors can admire one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily, with a coastline that alternates between sandy beaches and lava rocks, and whose Baroque architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage.
Via Etnea, Via Vittorio Emanuele and the adjacent streets are a succession of eighteenth century buildings, including Palazzo Biscari, the most important and imposing city mansion.
In Piazza del Duomo stands the Cathedral. Going up Via Antonino di San Giuliano, after Palazzo Manganelli, you will reach Via Crociferi, an ancient sacred path of the Roman era with its extraordinary array of churches and monasteries in the Baroque style.
Further up there is Piazza Dante and the colossal Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena – known as the
Benedictines – a masterpiece of the late Sicilian baroque and a monastic complex which is among the largest in Europe, in which is housed a Domus Romana, the cloisters and a wonderful roof garden.
The Roman era in Catania can be seen in numerous places such as the ancient Roman Theater, which has Greek origins and borders a smaller theater called Odeon. The Roman Amphitheatre is in Piazza Stesicoro which is also part of the Greek-Roman Archaeological Park of Catania.
In the thirteenth century Frederick II of Swabia erected a symbol of his Imperial authority and power known as Castello Ursino, a huge manor which is now the Civic Museum of the city.