Monreale - The Cathedral
This beautiful Santa Maria la Nuova Cathedral is world famous for its mosaics in the interior. It is open from 9:00 to 1:00 all week and also from 3 to 7 in the afternoon from April to October only and you must go to see this beautiful cathedral if you are in Monreale.
Randazzo is not very far from Catania and it was a small beautiful and quiet village in the country - perfect for a relaxing afternoon. We went on Saturday and there was the market which was very large and great fun too, which at that time was my only interest :) There are many places of interest there, which one could visit -these are the Vagliasindi Museum in Piazza Rabata, the 13th century Porta Aragonese, the Palazzo Scala, the Palazzo Finocchiaro, the Palazzo Lanza, the Civil Natural Science Museum and many churches as well.
Go to Alcantara Gorges
Alcantara Gorges is between Taormina and Mount Etna and is a "must go place" if you are in Sicily. It is a deep gorge which the river Alcantara has dug through the rocks over millions of years. You can go down there, walk through the gorge or even have a dip in the icy cold water from the mountains brrrrr..... in Summer!
It can easily be reached by public transport and you can rent rubber boots and overalls there.
What a lovely park, and right in the middle of Catania. Not too large, but really well kept and peaceful, full of seemingly happy and relaxed people. A must if you want to take a break from the messy city.
Saint Agatha is Catania's Patron and several churches, streets and monuments are dedicated tho the Saint.
Catania, brought back to life after every eruption of the Etna volcano, has bestowed some of the most beautiful churches and monuments to the Patron. On the inside of "S. Agata al Carcere", the III century remains of the gaol, where St. Agatha faced her martyrdom and death, are still to be seen. The Church of "S. Agata alla Fornace" (in piazza Stesicoro) and "S. Agata la Vetere" (the first Cathedral of Catania, and supposedly the first burial-place of the Saint) are non far. Many other places in Catania keep alive the memory of St. Agatha: "Badia S. Agata", the "stele" in piazza dei Martiri, the fountain in via Dusmet, the Norman-baroque Cathedral.
In most of Catanian private houses and in those churches where the Saint is officially venerated, busts of St. Agatha are easy to be found.
The whole province of Catania is rich with works of art dedicated to such a cult: the most famous of them is in Nicolosi, where Cardinal Dusmet saved the city using the veil of St. Agatha to stop lava flows
Catania has a really magnificent Cathedral.
Though extensively rebuilt on Baroque and neo-classical models, the oldest part of the cathedral (duomo) was constructed
Several royal personages are entombed there, including Frederick III of Aragon and Queen Constance,
wife of Frederick IV .
Museum of the Allied Invasion of Sicily
This is one of the best modern exhibits Italy has to offer, believe it or not. It is TRULY a must-see. One of the largest WWII museums in Europe, and shockingly well-done. Housed in 'Le Ciminiere' (literally, the Smokestacks), an abandoned factory on the coast, this completely modern exhibit covers the 33 day American/British invasion from its dramatic beginnings on the southern coast near Noto, through the taking of Palermo and Catania and finally to the Axis escape across the straights. Multimedia, photography, artifacts and audio bring the story to life. Also, as an American, the opportunity to see the story from the other side was a welcome and impressive experience.
I'm sorry I don't remember how good the English was on the many, many placards and whatnot - I was reading the Italian so I didn't pay attention. The guides are also very friendly and helpful and many speak some English.
Can you believe the American forces wore WOOL? In July in Sicily? Poor planning, guys.
Bellini's childhood home has been turned into a museum in his honor. Manuscripts, letters, historical documents, pianos and photographs are tastefully displayed in the tiny space. True Bellini lovers of course CANNOT miss this stop, and even those with only a passing interest should stop in to learn a bit about Catania's most beloved musician from the guides who themselves are quite knowledgable and passionate about their work.
The sign says: "This house, where Vincenzo Bellini was born, was declared a national monument on November 29th, 1923."
Don't forget to ask about the church across the street. You will hear the story of how Vincenzo would walk, unaccompanied, across the piazza every morning to practice the church's organ - when he was 3 years old.
The church itself houses several candelora for the St. Agata festival, and is itself worth a visit.
All things Bellini: Teatro Massimo Bellini, Bellini's house and Museum, Statue of Bellini, Piazza Teatro Massimo Bellini, Villa Bellini
Statue of Vincenzo Bellini
As mentioned elsewhere, Bellini is Catania's most famous musical figure. I love this piece. From the top down:
Bellini, seated on a throne. Below him, facing in each of the cardinal directions, are four figures, each representing one of his famous operas. We have Norma, a Puritan, la Sonnambula (the sleepwalker), and the Pirate. They are each standing on a case of seven steps (the seven steps of the musical scale), which have important themes from the operas carved into them.
All things Bellini:
The Lenzuolo Fountain, River Amenano
Catania is a port city with no major river. However, there is one important subterranean river, the Amenano. It flows under the city and can be most easily seen at the Youth Hostel (see hotels and restaurants) and in Piazza Duomo, where it feeds the fountain 'dell'acqua a lenzuolo', the fountain of sheeting water.
The fountain was carved by Tito Angelini in the 1800s to celebrate the total encasement of the river's waters, which had caused untold damage to the foundations of the city center.
Interesting things nearby: Piazza Duomo, the Fish Market.
Cardinal Dusmet's Body
I'm no Catholic, so I'll watch my mouth.
Cardinal Dusmet's dessicated body is on display at the Cathedral. Apparently he's on his way to Sainthood one of these centuries, but I'm not sure of that. His face is covered by a silver deathmask.
Interesting story regarding il Cardinale, told to me by one of the Cathedral staff: he is attributed with having saved Catania from destruction. One of the regular eruptions on Etna released lava towards the city, and everybody got pretty worried, as they should. Cardinal Dusmet took a veil, supposedly St. Agatha's, and dropped it in the path of the lava. Where it was dropped, the lava stopped, and the veil did not burn. Take this story as you find it.
The final resting place of Catania's beloved and dashing opera composer Vicenzo Bellini. Most famous work is la Norma (and pasta alla norma). The tomb is inscribed with a line of his music and depicts a bas relief of his dashingness being carried up to paradise in the embrace of two very pretty angels.
Bellini's death is shrouded in mystery. He died very young, and there are suggestions of his being poisoned by a jealous rival searching the hand of a certain damsel.
It's a running joke with me and people who care that the Catania tourist bureau guides may disagree on a lot of dates and place names, but they all agree on one thing:
Blond haired, blue-eyed Vincenzo was a total player.
All things Bellini: Teatro Massimo Bellini, Bellini's house and Museum, Statue of Bellini, Piazza Teatro Massimo Bellini, Villa Bellini.
Visit TAORMINA one of the...
Visit TAORMINA one of the beautifulst CITY of
---- SICILY ----
It is located about 30 kilometers from CATANIA . We have not spent any time in CATANIA - SORRY - , but there are so nice villages that we have decided to go further !! BEST CHOICE :-)))Related to:
- Wine Tasting
Try to have a night in...
Try to have a night in Selinunte/Marinella but at least plan to get some hours there as there is so much to see. It is a superb area of Greek remains. On a lovely day in february I only saw about 20 people in the whole area and the wild flowers were wonderful to see and smell.
I htink it was the extent and sense of freedom which gave it much of its appeal. the acropolis area has several ruined temples and sites of streets and houses and the other area includes one brilliantly restored temple and if its naff to enjoy anything restored then I enjoyed being naff. So what?
Trip to Syracuse (Siracusa)
The Greek and Roman civilisations have left their mark all over the town but this represents only a part of it's history; Syracuse has been Sicilian, Arab, Roman, Byzatine, Norman, Swabian, Aragonese, Catalan and Borbonic. There are numerous archaeological remains which have withstood the passing of the centuries, national disasters and plunders of the ages.
Catania is a rough city in Sicily and the Liberty Hotel is in a bad area of the city. I tried to...more
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