Fly To Catania, Italy
Catania is the second largest city in Sicily – the soccer ball part of Italy being kicked by the big boot. Framed by Mount Etna (Europe’s largest and most active volcano) to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the east, Catania has formed the stronghold of many powerful empires over the centuries.
Nowadays Catania is a vibrant university town with bars, pavement cafés, hooting Vespa’s and narrow ‘calles’. Visitors can retreat to the cooler climes of the surrounding mountain villages, or to the sea for a balmy swim.
Visa Requirements & SA Embassy Details
- South African passport holders do need a Visa to visit Catania, Italy. Be sure to leave ample time for processing and ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date. Also make sure that you have 2 blank pages available for entry stamps.
- The South African Embassy is in Rome at Via Tanaro, 14, 00198, Roma. Phone: +39-06-85-2541.
See and do
The Piazza del Duomo is a lively gathering point and the spot where you’ll find the Elephant Fountain – the city’s symbol as well as the entrance to Via Etnea, the main shopping street. Adjacent is the Norman Cathedral and just below you’ll find the food and fish markets which make for a colourful and lively day out. The fish market has been described as the best in the world by top chefs and the most exotic in all of Sicily.
The main shopping street, Via Etnea is where you’ll find the most imposing buildings in the city. The area is busy day and night and there are an abundance of churches to visit. For a historical stroll, head to Piazza Stesicoro to see the ruins of the Roman Ampitheatre. This is also the entrance to the main market and the main bus hub. Other sites to visit include Teatro Massimo, an opera house dating back to the 19th century; Castello Ursino, a medieval construction; the Greek/Roman Theatre and the Villa – an urban park from the 19th century.
If you’re looking for adventure, take a volcano trek. You can hire a volcanologist to guide you on the tour and take you slightly off the usual tourist path.
When shopping, check out the Pizzo free shops – these are a group of shopkeepers who refuse to fund the mafia and local customers keep them going by supporting them.
As for food in Catania, be sure to try Arancino. It’s a rice croquette shaped like a cone and filled with meat, sauce, tomato, peas and cheese. Fish is fresh and succulent in the city owing to Catania being a large port. The area is also known for horse meat, if you so desire and another well-loved dish is Pasta alla Norma – macaroni topped with tomato sauce, fried eggplant and grated ricotta.
Getting around downtown Catania is really easy on foot and in fact the public transport can be a bit of a problem with long waiting times. There is a short metro line that runs from the Port to the train station. If you rent a car, be prepared to put up with major traffic jams and be weary of looking too touristy to the robbers and pickpockets.
To get around the metropolitan area, either drive yourself or catch a taxi. There is also a train and a bus running in the area. If you wish to get up Mount Etna for the volcano trek, take the private train line or a shuttle from the central station which will take you to Rifugio Sapienza from where you can easily get to the top of the mountain.
Catania-Fontanarossa Airport – CTA
Food and beverage: Coffee bars, restaurants and a self-service restaurant airside. There are no 24 hour eateries.
Currency Exchange: There is a currency exchange office in the Arrivals Terminal at Catania Airport.
Airport Hotels: Hotel Miramare, Romano Palace Luxury Hotel, NH Parco degli Aragonesi.
Car Hire: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz.
Airport Hub: Catania Airport (code CTA) is a hub for Air One, Alitalia, Meridiana Fly, Mistral Air.