Search for cheap flights to Catania1. Plan your day in Piazza DuomoThis attractive square is the heart of the city, with views down its main axes to Etna in the north, the Baroque quarter in the west, the sea and port to the south and the railway station and seafront to the east. The Fontana dell’Elefante, with its somewhat saggy baggy elephant carved in black lava and surmounted by an Egyptian obelisk, has been adopted as the city’s symbol. Lined with fine Baroque buildings designed by Vaccarini in the early 1700s, it’s a lovely space to enjoy a coffee, a spremuta (juice), a Sicilian pastry or an ice cream as you plan your day.Address: Piazza Duomo, 95100 Catania CT 15. Marvel at Monastero dei BenedettiniThis centuries old Monastery now belongs to the University of Catania, who work to preserve to keep the Sicilian Baroque architecture in the spotless state it’s in. It’s particularly worth checking out the roof garden and courtyards in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, first built in the 1300’s. Opening Hours: 9am-5pm dailyTickets: Free to enterAddress: Piazza Dante 32, 95124 Catania, Sicily 3. Fish out the PescheriaThis wonderful market is located at the western edge of Piazza Duomo, just behind the Fontana dell’Amenano. The sound, colour and scents are intoxicating, and this is a true working market full of traders, chefs and housewives, not simply a tourist display. You’ll find live lobsters and seafood, swordfish standing guard over a rainbow array of sardines and anchovies, glowing oranges and cedro, outsize lemons peeled and sliced for you on the spot with the sweet pith contrasting with the sharp flesh. There are sheep’s heads complete with horns, and cheeses in all shapes and sizes. Enjoy today’s catch in one of the trattorias round the edge of the market.Opening Hours: 8am-2pm, closed on SundaysTickets: Free to enterAddress: Piazza del Duomo, 95131 Catania CT 10. Eat aranciniAs Montalbano would tell you, there’s nothing more deeply satisfying than arancini – golden, deep fried, stuffed rice balls to fill the gap between meals – and some of the very best are available in Catania. These ‘little oranges’ made of moist risotto can be filled with pistachio, ragu, ham and provola cheese, spinach, aubergine and tomato. You’ll have to queue, order, then pay before you can make off with your fragrant booty… try not to drool too much! 4. Go up EtnaIt’s hard to take in the sheer bulk and height of Mount Etna until the cloud and mists roll away and its snowy cone and black slopes burst onto the horizon, filling out the top of Catania’s main street, Via Etnea. Although it’s a tourist magnet, there’s a real fascination in this all too active volcano and the lush landscape it has spawned. There are lots of opportunities to explore, from a gentle trip round its flanks by train to a full scale and relatively serious walking expedition. One of the quirkier options is to ski on its slopes, crosscountry or downhill. It’s just too dangerous to go to the summit cone, but you can feel the force in the heat through the soles of your shoes and the plumes of smoke thatburst from the fumaroles.Opening Hours: 24 hoursAddress: Mt Etna, 95031 Adrano, Province of Catania 11. Play King’s & Queens at Castello UrsinoMuseo Civico Castello Ursino – the Bear’s Castle – is just south of Catania city centre. First built in 1230, this used to be home to the Sicilian Royal family, but it was claimed by the City of Catania in the 1930s and redeveloped to allow visitors. There used to be a moat around the castle, built in the 17th century, and it used to sit on a cliff by the sea – but Mount Etna has since filled the empty spaces with lava, laying claim to the castle itself. Opening Hours: 9am-7pm, open til 8.30pm on MondaysTickets: €6 per personAddress: Piazza Federico di Svevia, 3, 95121 Catania CT 8. Imagine the high life in Palazzo BiscariDoes a visit to Sicily conjure up images of the life of leisure led by its fading aristocrats, as depicted in Giovanni di Lampedusa’s The Leopard? If so, a visit to the beautiful Palazzo Biscari will give you some insight into that age of elegance and opulence. Although part of it is used as municipal offices, you can visit the rest of the palace by private arrangement with its owners, the Paterno Castello family – and you may just find that your guide that day is the owner herself…Opening Hours: 9am-4.45pm, closed on Wednesday, Saturday, SundayTickets: €5 per personAddress: Via Museo Biscari, 10, 95131 Catania CT 9. Take a road trip with Commissario Montalbano, Italy’s favourite policemanThe TV adaptation of Andrea Camilleri’s novels about Montalbano, the literary detective whose love of Sicilian food means more to him than his fiancee, is spectacularly set in south-eastern Sicily within reach of Catania. Vigata and Montelusa are amalgams of the wonderful Baroque towns of Ragusa, Modica and Scicli, and other locations nearby are also featured. Take the bus or drive and explore these exuberant and theatrical cities, reliving favourite moments from the stories. How to get to CataniaThere are direct flights to Catania from London. All other U.K cities have indirect flights, stopping off in Rome or London.Search for cheap flights to CataniaWhere to stay on a city break in CataniaIf you’re looking for a hostel:Be in the heart of the action (close to Via Etna and the Cathedral) without compromising on your budget – Ostello Degli Elefanti also have a rooftop terrace and free Wifi! If you’re looking for a hotel:Hotel Royal is in a listed building with suites, free Wifi and a restaurant. It’s everything you’ll need. If you’re looking for luxury:The Liberty is furnished with antiques, it’s close to the University and there’s a marble tiled courtyard. The Italian dream?Search for hotels in Catania Looking for cheap flights to Catania? Search nowReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 6. Baroque and rollIt seems that you’re never far from a church in Catania, nowhere more so than in Via Crociferi with its monumental Baroque facades piling up the narrow street. While most of the interest is in the exteriors, it’s worth the admission to see the extravagantly frescoed interior or San Benedetto, revealed under grey paint following a bombing raid in 1943 and lovingly restored. From the sublime to the ridiculous, the Baroque churches come in all shapes and sizes, from the charming, curvaceous Collegiata chapel on Piazza Universita to the vast San Nicolo l’Arena, intended to be the largest church in Sicily and used as a depot for refuse lorries in the 1970s. 12. Marvel at Catania’s CathedralThis is where you can find the tomb of Bellini, but it’s the epic lava-carved facade that you need to see. Architects Girolamo Palazzotto and Giovanni Battista Vaccarini designed the exterior, which was completed (again in Baroque) in 1736. Opening Hours: 9am-2pm dailyTickets: €10 per personAddress: Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 163, 95100 Catania CT 5. Meet the Romans and GreeksDespite being overwhelmed by lava and earthquakes, Catania’s Roman and Greek past bursts through its dark lava pavements to remind you of its illustrious past. There are the substantial remains of a Roman theatre in the midst of houses and streets off Via Vittorio Emanuele built on the site of a Greek theatre in the second century AD. Nearby, Roman baths built on top of a Greek thermal complex can be found at the Terme della Rotonda under a curious low dome which housed a Norman and a later Baroque church. The remains of a Roman amphitheatre take up half of Piazza Stesicoro on Via Etnea.Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele 13. Pause for coffee in Piazza UniversitàAlongside Piazza Duomo, this is another main meeting point in Catania – it’s where the street entertainers congregate, students sit in the sunshine and couples sit, sipping coffee and nibbling on a pastry or two. The university buildings are also well worth a visit for their mosaic floors and Baroque arhcitecture. Opening Hours: 24 hoursTickets: Free to enter (it’s free to enter the University too)Address: Via Roccaforte, 95124 Catania CT14. Picnic in Orto Botanico dell’Università di CataniaThere are more than 100 different types of palm tree growing in this botanical garden, which make excellent shade should you choose to take a picnic into the grounds. There’s also an impressive selection of cacti and flowers in the garden, preserved by the University of Catania. Opening Hours: 9am-5pm daily, 9am-4pm on Saturday, closed on SundaysTickets: €3 per personAddress: Via Etnea, 397, 95125 Catania, Sicily 2. Celebrate Vincenzo Bellini, a favourite son of CataniaThe famous 19th century composer was born in Catania in 1801 and is celebrated lavishly throughout the city. See his tomb in the cathedral and his statue in Piazza Stesicoro, both of which quote his greatest operatic hits. The house where he was born has a small museum of mementos including scores, a death mask and models of scenes from his operas. And where better to enjoy the spectacle of one of his operas than in Teatro Bellini, a renowned opera house? Finally, to revive you after your pilgrimage, you’ll want to eat a plate of Pasta alla Norma, which was fashioned by Catanian chefs in honour of Bellini’s most famous creation and features a heady mix of tomato, aubergine and sheep’s milk ricotta. 7. Stroll down Via EtneaVia Etnea is an elegant and sophisticated thoroughfare and it’s a pleasure to stroll from Piazza Duomo up to Villa Bellini, enjoying a bit of window shopping and cafe culture along the way. On Sundays, the lower part of the street is closed to traffic and you can amble among the craft stalls that spill out from the side streets. A procession of brightly painted Sicilian carts carrying musicians and high stepping horses rounds off the truce with the traffic before the usual chaos resumes.