The second most important city of Sicilyhas a few highlights (Cathedral of Sain Agatha and the Elephant Fountain, with a mysterious volcanic-rock elephant on base, the Roman anfiteatro, several wonderful churches) and is a good 'Basecamp' for trips to Etna, Taormina...
The 'Villa del Casale', in Piazza Armerina (around the center of the island), is an ancient roman villa with amazing mosaics. It was built between 330 and 360 AD. The identity of its owner remains a subject of debate. However, three individuals are usually mentioned: Proculus Populonius, governor of Sicily from 314 to 337; Caeionus Rufus Volusianus, also called Lampadius, an influential and wealthy man; and Sabucinius Pinianus, probably of Roman birth.
There are 3500 square meters of mosaics on the villa's floors, and some surviving wall paintings. Many of the structure's walls are still standing. The style of the mosaics is said to be influenced by the North African motifs of the Romans. Some smaller finds from the site are housed in the Piazza Armerina archeological museum.
You can visit the famous volcano and get very close to the mouth. Wear warm clothes. It's very cold up there!
Following the motorway Messina/Catania as far as the exit for Giarre, you pass the Etna villages of Santa Venerina and Zafferana to a height of about 6.175 feet, where you can admire the Silvestri Craters. From there you can reach the top by cable-car and jeep to the proximity of the central crater (about 9.900 feet). Returning to Taormina via Nicolosi you can see the 1983 lava flow.
Go on the top of the vulcano Etna!
Fondest memory: It was one of the most beautiful sites I saw in Sicily and definitely most exciting!! We arrived on the top of Etna by a small terain bus, which drove us almost in the lava itself. It wasn't that close, but it was still a wonderful experience to see lava running down the hill just a few meters a head of you!You can see the picture of it on the left, where I burned my snickers(they melted), because it was so hot!! But beside the lava, there was also a lot of interesting vulcano stones-a lot of different colours!! There were also the people who made ashtrays from lava-that was quite an interesting thing to see, because they were selling this ashtrays for 20$ at the bottom of Etna and here a man made in like 20 seconds!
Numerous are the traditions in a land where Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spanishs, Normans and Swabs have lived.
The most important heritage of these peoples are the architectonical styles and the dialects, a mixture of exotic terms which are completely different from the national language.
If a stranger who doesn’t know Italian wants to make himself understand, he can try to say some words in his mother tongue: perhaps somebody will understand him.
The conquerors of the past have introduced, styles and customs which merged with the typical local ones and have hence given birth to unique traditions.The match between sacred and profane in the celebration of the patronal feasts which run during the year in all the towns of the province are to be remembered. Even the artistical representation shows traces of the external inheritance, for example the 'Opera dei Pupi' (puppet theatre). It is the story of the deeds of the paladins of Carlo Magno. Rich exhibits of 'puppets' can be admired c/o Natale Napoli in Gravina of Catania, in via Madonna di Fatima 14 (tel/fax 095/416787), c/o Turi Grasso in Acireale, in via Nazionale 95 Capomulini area (tel 095/7648035 - 800113 - 7632158) and c/o the Cooperativa E. Magrì of Acireale, Corso Umberto 113 (tel. 095/606272). A café in Catania near Porta Uzeda features a folkloristic exhibit of puppets. A 'café' or 'bar', especially in via Etnea in Catania, is rarely a 'bar'. The citizens of the province know that they can find elegant places of refreshment and therefore it would be too unsignificant the typical sentence 'let’s go to have a coffee': ice-cream-parlour, pastry shop, rotisserie, toasted coffee, granite (to be found only in Sicily), all home produced. Many of these places are so old and renowned to be a tradition for the countries or the cities where they are found. Those who are in a hurry or are thirsty may stop at the typical kiosks and quench their thirst with the typical home-made drinks, such as 'selz al limone e sale' (water with lemon and salt), the typical 'latte di mandorla' (almond flavoured milk), the 'schampagnino', the 'misto amaro', the 'misto frutta', and dozens of other syrup-based drinks. At night, in Catania, you can go to one of the numerous pubs in the historical centre, where musical bands often perform and where you can sit in the open air during the good weather. During the night the town, trasformes into a quite but at the same time lively place, completely different from the one you may see during the day, frantic and swarming with people who go around the numerous shops looking for that bargain. Shopping in Catania and in the whole province is a real ritual, because many citizens are involved in commercial activities. You can find everything: objects of art, local ceramics, jewels created with the amber of the Simeto River and also fresh and seasoned products in all the main squares of the towns and villages, such as mushrooms, almonds, pistachios, 'zagara' honey (orange-blossom honey), tomatoes, oranges etc. A part of this ritual is to bargain: you must always ask for a discount. Especially in the fish market of Catania (very fresh fish offered by local fishermen), near the Duomo (Cathedral basilica of Catania), and at the 'fera o luni' of Piazza Carlo Alberto, always in the provincial capital, which on Sunday morning becomes a very interesting market of antiques. Here, you can also find old and modern wrought iron objects together with objects made of lava which are a button-hole in the local craftsmanship. It is here impossible to list all the handicraft because some are typical of a certain area, such as the lace of Mirabella Imbaccari or the ceramics of Caltagirone and Giarre.Finally, the best way to live the numerous local traditions is to travel from one area to another, on the occasion of the various feasts and celebrations which are performed all the year round.
Scooters can be the best vehicles for the big cities.
And they are being used by everybody, young, old, well dressed or very sporty and with every occasion (maybe not for going to church).
Favorite thing: Located in the Piazza Duomo. At the entrance of the fish market , on the bed of the river of the same name, the well of the Amenano made in 1867 by Tito Angelini.
Favorite thing: This fountain was made by Vaccarini in 1736. The picture speaks for itself. Located in the Piazza Duomo.
Favorite thing: VISIT THE TOWN CENTER OF TAORMINA WITH NICE RESTAURANTS AND LOT OF SHOPS..GO TO HIKE IN THE UPHILLS, ENJOY THE VIEW AND VISIT THE FAMOUS ANTIC GREEK THEATER
see the historical center and any place where Etna has left her traces
Fondest memory: the procession of Sant'Agata, and countless, incredibly powerful, experiences on Mount Etna in the last 10 years
Fondest memory: If you like beautiful walks on the beach with lovely sound of waves, don´t miss to look for very mild beaches with the sand, small stones or big stones.