The 2.5 hour bus ride from Palermo to Catania isn't as bad as it sounds and is worth it just to see the Sicilian landscape, views of Mt. Etna, and all the Sicilian flora and fauna (cacti)! Catania is Palermo's little sister - its streets made of volcanic rock give it darker shadows in the day but keep the city cool at night. Audrey and I were able to navigate the small city without a map after just a day of exploring its streets and acclimating to its scents (fish), sounds (street performers), and scenes (prom photoshoots).
Mount Etna is visible from almost everywhere - most predominantly on the pedestrian street Via Etnea. It is the highest volcano in Europe (3327 meters high) and one of most active volcanoes in the world.
- Savia (Via Etnea, 300/302/304, Via Umberto I, 2/4/6, 95131 Catania CT, Italy) This café was a welcome refuge in 100 degree heat (extra points for having AC and wifi). Audrey and I slurped down an almond granita and chomped down a fresh cannoli.
- docalquadrato (Via Gesualdo Clementi, 1, 95124 Catania CT, Italy) Cheese boards but make it a meal.
- Fishiaria (Via Riccioli, 4/6, 95021 Catania CT, Italy) - Pasta alla Norma lives up to its hype at this restaurant.
- Brioche @ Pasticceria Privitera dal 1945 (Piazza Santa Maria di Gesù, 1/2, 95100 Catania CT, Italy) - Italian brioche is nothing like it's French cousin but it still hits the spot. Sicilian brioche is not as buttery as the French one, and it’s slightly sweeter because of the honey added to the dough.
- Ficarra Luigi (Via Umberto I, 69/71, 95129 Catania CT, Italy) Order an almond granita with a shot of espresso and an arancini
- People watch in front of Cathedral of Saint Agatha - you might get serenaded by a street performer and make friends with the Italian men that frequent the Fontana dell'Elefante
- Piazza Carlo Alberto Mercato (Piazza Carlo Alberto, 95131 Catania CT, Italy)
- Watch sunset from Saint Julian Church
My baby niece was born while I was in Catania so I'll always remember the excitement of waking up in the middle of the night to a new lil baby to love and adore while here.
NOTE: Catania is a sleepy Italian city that takes Sundays off so keep this in mind if you're planning a weekend getaway.