Discovering Catania and Siracusa
If you are wondering what to see between Catania and Syracuse, this is the article for you.
Catania: what to see?
If you arrive by plane, probably the airport where you will land will be Fontanarossa (Catania), so why not spend at least 1 or 2 days in this beautiful city?
First of all, you must know that this city is very chaotic, so if you can, we suggest you move by taxi or private driver because finding parking is already difficult for the people from Catania. Guess how it is for someone who is not a local! Without considering that the road signage, unfortunately, it’s not the best, so if you are thinking of renting a car, we advise you to be very careful because the fine for no parking is almost always around the corner, and traffic stress is no exception.
But let’s go to the beautiful things because Catania offers many!
- Piazza del Duomo
you can admire the emblem of the city: the Elephant Fountain. This fountain depicts an elephant carved in black lava, above which an Egyptian obelisk stands. Legend has it that this statue has the power to appease the wrath of the Etna volcano.
- The “pescheria” – The fish market
The fish market of Catania is one of the UNIQUE places in the world where you can find the true warmth, folklore, and typicality of lands like Sicily, rich in history and tradition.
An extraordinary spectacle for the variety and imagination of the goods that every day is crowded by tourists who visit it with great enthusiasm and amazement, taking photos and making videos to share and take home an indelible memory of Sicily.
- St. Agata Cathedral
Its external facade is truly splendid, made entirely of white marble, while its interior is dedicated to Sant’Agata, a young virgin tortured after refusing the loving attention of a Roman prefect.
- University’s square
This square is surrounded by two magnificent buildings facing each other: the University Building which houses the ancient university and the San Giuliano Palace. Both palaces have splendid facades and beautiful interior courtyards in Baroque style.
Particular is the four street lamps, for which each of them represents a legendary event in Catania.
- Bellini’s Garden (or Bellini’s Villa)
The Bellini Garden, (also called by the people of Catania “Villa Bellini” or “a’villa”), is the main place of recreation and relaxation for the citizens of Catania. Located in the historic center, it is the main air lung of the city of Catania. The Villa Bellini in Catania occupies an area of 70,942 square meters and is embellished with various statues, fountains, flowery meadows, and always well-kept hedges.
- The Roman Theatre
Although there is not much left today, in case you have some time to spare, go and see the Roman Theater, near the Piazza del Duomo. You will be surprised by its architecture and its vaults. Seeing it there, surrounded by modern buildings, you will surely be charmed!
- Former Benedictine Monastery
The must-see attraction of Via Crociferi is undoubtedly the former Benedictine monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena, which now houses part of the university. It is the 2nd largest building in Europe, and you can visit it both free and with a tour guide.
- Ursino’s Castle
The Ursino Castle is an ancient Swabian fortress that now houses the Civic Museum (which can be visited for free).
Built at the behest of Frederick II between 1239 and 1250, the Ursino Castle was born within the defensive project of the eastern Sicilian coasts and stood on a promontory surrounded by the sea. Several earthquakes and the terrible volcanic eruption of Etna in 1669 totally changed the landscape of this area. The lava flows probably surrounded the castle without causing damage.
Inside the castle today there is the civic museum, which houses an important collection: from Byzantine tablets to 19th-century oils on canvas, the museum boasts a very rich art gallery, to which numerous archaeological finds from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are added. , Greek vases, Greek and Roman coins, portals from the 13th and 15th centuries, engravings, prints, sacred vestments, and ornamental artistic objects from different eras.
The highest volcano in Europe and certainly among the most active. It is undoubtedly a very popular destination, and we at Sicily Transfer Taxi will take you to visit all the most beautiful places in the area.
- Silvestri’s Craters.
- Sartorius Mounts.
- Grotta del Gelo (Forst Cave).
- Summits Craters.
- Silvestri’s Mounts.
- Bove Valley (Valle del Bove).
Siracusa: What to see?
This beautiful coastal city is well known for its incredible historical heritage and its fascinating historic center: the island of Ortigia. It is the perfect place to spend a few days during your trip to Sicily!
- Ortigia’s Island
The oldest part of Syracuse, the most “historic” historical center of the city, is the island of Ortigia which is connected to the mainland by two bridges, the Umbertino Bridge and the Santa Lucia Bridge. Particular for its small streets, where there are many monuments and museums, as well as many typical and local restaurants.
- The Aretusa Fountain
It is born from a freshwater spring that flows a few meters from the sea, on the island of Ortigia. It forms a small semicircular pond full of fish and where greenery triumphs and the plants of the only spontaneous papyri present in Europe grow luxuriantly.
The site is accessible with a ticket that includes the audio guide in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and Chinese.
In the space in front of the Fonte Aretusa, in the heart of Ortigia, we find the Aquarium. Particularly interesting are the tanks, built in such a way as to exactly reproduce the natural environments of origin of the hosted fish.
Among the sectors that characterize the Aquarium of considerable importance is that reserved for the aquatic life of the Mediterranean. In the tanks of this sector, we can observe the marine biotype typical of the coasts of our Province and some of the most beautiful shells of the Mare Nostrum.
Below are the reproducing tanks: one of them concerns fish and tropical freshwater plants, the other fish and tropical marine invertebrates among the most beautiful and delicate that exist in nature.
- Archeological Neapolis Park
Recognized as the true attraction of Syracuse, the Archaeological Park of Neapolis contains famous masterpieces from both Greek and Roman times, evidence of the millenary history of the city.
Inside we find:
The Greek Theatre
It is the most famous monument in the archaeological park and is one of the largest and most important in the ancient world. It has ancient origins and already existed in the fifth century. B.C.; we know from literary sources that Aeschylus staged “Le Etnee” in 476 BC. Its current form, however, is attributable to a unitary project, built in the third century. B.C. from Ierone II, as part of his program of arrangement of the Neapolis according to the principles of the Hellenistic architecture of the time.
Nel lato occidentale della Latomia del Paradiso è il famoso “Orecchio di Diogini “.
In fact, legend has it that the tyrant Dionysius (Dionysus) used to lock up his enemies inside the cave to listen to their speeches from above, unseen, amplified by the echo. In reality, the cave owes its shape to the way it was built; the excavation began from above, following the sinuous path of an aqueduct, and widened as it went deeper,
You can also visit:
- Cave of the Cordari
- Roman Anfiteatre
- Thr Grotta del Ninfeo
- The via dei Sepolcri
- Syracuse Cathedral
The Greek history of Syracuse always comes to the surface: thus, even the most important religious architecture of the city, the Duomo, was in the past a Greek temple, dedicated to the goddess Minerva. Located in the highest part of the island of Ortigia, the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Mary of Syracuse boasts one of the most beautiful facades in Sicily, designed and completed in the first half of the eighteenth century in a mixture of Baroque and Rococo elements. The older interior also houses a beautiful crucifix from the Byzantine era and a rich treasure.
- Maniace Castle
The Swabian period is instead represented, in Syracuse, by the Maniace Castle. Built on the extreme tip of the island of Ortigia by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia around 1200, the castle must have appeared as impregnable and threatening to enemies arriving from the sea, or particularly desirable to soldiers returning from the Crusades. Today a walk among the towers and on the ramparts offers an incredible almost 360-degree view of the sea around the city.
- Church of San Giovanni alle Catacombe
It has no roof, the church of San Giovanni Alle Catacombe in Syracuse, and between its naves – what remains of the ancient Norman Gothic church – bushes and palm trees grow. The charm of the place is undoubted, especially at sunset, when the stone takes on strange colors and creates a truly magical atmosphere. From the south side of the church, you can also go down to the catacombs of San Giovanni, part of the ancient underground Christian necropolis (the only catacomb complex open to the public in Syracuse).
- Apollo’s Temple
The oldest Doric temple in all of Sicily has been transformed, over the centuries, into a Byzantine church and an Arab mosque, a Norman church, and – even – a Spanish barracks. So, passing in front of it (it is located in the heart of Ortigia) it may take a little imagination to imagine the majestic original structure: try it, and then continue your walk towards the center!
- Arenella Beach
Visiting temples and theaters under the sun can be tiring: nothing better than a trip to the beach! An excellent choice, if you are in Syracuse or the surrounding area, is the Arenella beach. It is a beach of soft golden sand, in a small bay. The landscape is magnificent, deckchairs and sun loungers can be rented, and it is only 9 kilometers from the city center.
- Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum
The Paolo Orsi Archaeological Museum is one of the most important and prestigious museums in Europe for the number of finds it contains. The first museum was located in the premises of the old Seminary in Piazza Minerva, where the Alagoniana Library was also located. The discoveries and acquisitions made it necessary to create a large museum, suitable for the rich collections that over time were acquired both through donations and through excavations. The area where the Fatebenefratelli or S. Giovanni Di Dio Hospital stood in Piazza Duomo was identified as the site. The Museum, built between 1880 and 1885, was inaugurated in 1886. But even this site proved insufficient to collect the results of research and excavations and therefore the Park of Villa Landolina was acquired to build the current seat of the Museum. Archaeological, which was inaugurated in 1988, and was named after Paolo Orsi. It is one of the largest museums in Europe for exhibition spaces and several exhibits. It includes the first floor with three sectors: A, B, C, and a central hall for exhibitions and thematic exhibitions and an upper floor with three other sectors D, E, F, of which D and F are open. and chronological. Since April 2010, the museum has been enriched with the prestigious medal collection in the basement.
If you are interested in traveling comfortably visiting these two beautiful cities, you just have to contact us to book your tour