Catania is precious like a black pearl in a baroque shell, open to all cultures, generous and hospitable. A productive and commercial city, but also full of culture, from literature, to music and theathre.
It is worth starting from the inevitable and very central Piazza Duomo, marked by the city’s emblem: the “Elephant Fountain“. On the square stands the imposing cathedral dedicated to Sant’Agata which safeguards the relics of the Saint Patron and a magnificent fresco by Giacinto Platania which recalls one of the most terrible cataclysmic events for the city: the lava flow of 1669.
Under the cathedral, it was found a portion of a Roman thermal bath, represented in a picture by the painter Jean Houel, it can be accessed from the Diocesan Museum, which is adjacent to the Cathedral. And again, it is possible to admire the town hall or Palazzo degli Elefanti or the fountain of the river god Amenano which hides the access to the Pescheria, the colorful and folkloristic fish market.
A few steps from the Platea Magna, set in a Baroque palace, there is the Teatro Antico (Roman theater from the 2nd century AD), a fundamental stop to learn about the history of the city. The restoration of recent years has revealed an unexpected building capable of telling the long and dense history of Catania.
Another stop is the museum dedicated to Vincenzo Bellini, to which is attached a small exhibition space dedicated to the Catanian artist Emilio Greco. From the museum square starts a magnificent series of churches and palaces known as Via Crociferi, a world heritage site for the baroque of its churches.
Among these, the magnificent church of San Benedetto, not to be missed, then the church of San Francesco Borgia dei Gesuiti, the church of San Giuliano and that of San Camillo. But above all, at the top of them, on the hill, the Benedictine Monatery, one of the largest in Europe. Not far away, stands the Ursino Castle, evocative and full of history, it is the glorious testimony of the relationship between the city and Federico II (Piazza Federico di Svevia). Inside, there is the interesting Civic Museum of Catania.
Returning to the composer from Catania, Vincenzo Bellini, the magnificent Opera theater built at the end of the nineteenth century is dedicated to him. The theatre, one of the best in Europe for acoustics, retains the charm of the time and jealously guards the magic of opera.
Furthermore, scattered throughout the city, Roman baths such as the “Terme dell’Indirizzo” and the incredible “Terme della Rotonda”, transformed into a church by the Byzantines, magnificent Baroque churches such as the church of Santa Maria dell’Aiuto, the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, markets and still domes to climb. For example, the dome of the church of Sant’Agata alla Badia from which you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of Etna and the dome of the grandiose church of San Nicola, the highest in the city.
And if you would like to discover nature and learn a little more of botany, don’t miss the botanical garden along Via Etnea, the main street of the city, or the Bellini garden, once the winter garden of the Prince of Biscari. A meeting with the prince’s family is essential!
The magnificent palace of one of the most important families in the city will reveal the little secrets and history of Catania through the discovery of magnificent masterpieces of art such as the halls and rooms of the palace itself. In the same neighbourhood, the chapel of the Ss. Salvatore (called Bonaiuto chapel), an incredible synthesis of a thousand years of history of the city. Furthermore, the Benedictine Monastery (palace of culture) with the Norman balcony survived the catastrophes and earthquakes that have repeatedly destroyed the city.
Not far away is the atelier of a “puppeteer“, whose family has maintained the tradition of the puppet theater in the city and on the island for several generations: the Napoli brothers.
And then, the tactile museum for the visually impaired and blind which allows you to learn about the shapes of the most important monuments in the world and of the city through touch, the “Museo dello Sbarco”, the cinema museum. All this and much more in Catania.
Palazzo Marletta and surroundings
It is possible to book a walking tour of Catania on request. The route organized by our staff includes a splendid walk in the elegant historic center of the city starting from Palazzo Marletta to discover the astonishing baroque architecture that frames our location, the archaeological sites of the Roman period, but also the craftsmanship, the gastronomy and some of the city’s most illustrious characters.
An unforgettable journey through the past, present and future to understand the great soul of Catania and the people of Catania. Passing through: Piazza Duomo and visiting the Cathedral, the Town Hall, the Fish Market, the Ursino Castle, Piazza Mazzini, Piazza San Francesco, Piazza Dante, Piazza Università and the amazing Via Crociferi. The Palazzo Marletta staff has created a unique itinerary for its guests through a personalized tour, to discover the wonders of Catania, visiting the sites of greatest historical interest, discovering the curiosities and history of the city.
Excursions of historical, cultural and religious importance, in the heart
of Catania and also characteristic destinations in Sicily.