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Hotels in Catania

The energy and vibrant personality of Catania can be felt in the air. It's a Sicilian town by the sea that doesn't take itself too seriously. The island's markedly different atmosphere to the mainland gives you a fresh new take on Italian holidays. Staying in Catania combines a seaside holiday with a continental escape.

Get in and out

Catania–Fontanarossa Airport is the second largest airport on Sicily and impressively convenient. There are direct flights to and from London, Manchester and East Midlands airports. From the arrivals hall, it's around 15 minutes to the town centre by car.

Train lines run along the coastal edge of town, with a key stop at Catania Centrale railway station. It's a link to all of Italy's major cities, via connecting ferry services to the mainland from Messina.

Things to do in Catania

The town looks out onto the Ionian Sea, and sits below Mount Etna. Much of the area was rebuilt after an eruption in the 17th century, at which time builders used the volcano's black lava to create new avenues and Baroque architecture. As such, Catania has lots of side streets and wide piazzas to explore.

The heart of the town is arguably the university, as most of the main sights and buildings are clustered around it. La Basilica Cattedrale di Sant'Agata – dedicated to Catania's patron saint, St Agata – is nearby, and there's also the Castello Ursino & Museo Civico, a museum of archaeology and local artifacts.

In the very centre of Catania, at the Piazza del Duomo, you'll see the town's symbol: the Fontana d'Ellephante, a lava fountain shaped like an elephant carrying an obelisk. This unusual sculpture bears an inscription which some say is also dedicated to St Agata.

Most of Catania is laid out in a grid formation, so it's easy to find your way around. Catania Metro is the town's public transport system – the most southerly in Europe.

Italian cuisine

Sicily's famous food includes arancini (filled fried rice balls), pane e panelle (chickpea fritter sandwich) and polpo bollito (boiled octopus). As a seaside town, Catania is also known for its fresh fish. The fish market held here is extremely well known in the area.

Catania offers you hundreds of places to eat and drink. When the weather's fine, choose somewhere with outdoor seating and watch the world go by. The odd steakhouse, tearoom and Japanese restaurant can be found amongst the many traditional Italian eateries.

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