The city of Catania, a baroque marvel, is wedged between Etna and the Sea but also torn between the sacred and the profane. Both, tradition and the typical southern Italian culture as well as gay tourism have their place here. The diversity of the city is what attracts people from near and afar. The island of Sicily offers its visitors everything from art history to amazing beaches. And there are plenty of traditional dishes to enjoy, of course. Sicily is well connected to the world thanks to two of the busiest airports in the Mediterranean, Catania and Palermo.
The second largest city of Sicily
Local customs are a main attraction, just think of the festival of Sant’Agata (3rd to 5th February). It brings thousands of tourists and worshippers from all over the world to Catania to experience the spiritual life of its citizens (www.festadisantagata.it). It is an annual event in which tourists participate with fervor – and only one of the local holidays that should not be missed. Once the religious ceremonies are over you can follow daily local routines like visiting the famous fish market “A Piscaria”. Adjacent to Piazza del Duomo and the eighteenth-century Palazzo Biscari is the design museum of Sicilian originals, bearing a full Rococo façade. It is home to The Museum & Fashion by famous Sicilian designer Marella Ferrera (www.marellaferrera.com). The Sunday vintage flea market takes place just 50 metres away.
Wine and dine
Have a drink at Buio (wine and cocktail bar) at night. Located in the Piazza University area, among 18th-century palaces of the Sicilian nobility it is the most popular bar for the Catanese gay community. You will find the same beautiful architecture at Teatro Bellini, named after the composer of the famous opera Norma. This name was also given to a local speciality (pasta alla Norma): pasta with tomato, aubergine and salted ricotta.
A good way to meet and mingle with the Catanese is going to ‘A fera’, the daily market in Piazza Carlo Alberto (except Sundays). Via Etnea is the official street to promenade. To top it all is Via Plebiscito, the famous home of restaurants purely for meat-eaters. Sampling horse meat is a ‘MUST’ here. That said, we wish you ‘Buon Appetito’ and hope to see you in Catania very soon.
The best way to get to know a city first hand is by staying with friends. Catania offers beautiful private accommodation. Trusted hosts will be happy to help you with suggestions, information and more.
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