What To Expect
We first drive northward along the seabord of the Riviera of Cyclops crossing the fishermen villages which inspired Verga when he wrote his "Malavoglia". This stretch of rocky coast has a great naturalistic and geological interest and, when Mount Etna didn't exist yet, one of the first eruptions took place just here in the depths of the sea. The eruption, formed huge outcrops of rock, forged by underwater lava which gave birth to the Homeric legend of the Cyclops. Endemic varieties of fish and other species have encouraged, and made possible, the creation of a National Sea Park to protect them. While your knowledgeable tour guide introduces you to the three thousand years of foreign dominations on the island, you move to the nearby Catania a few km away.
The visit will start from the real heart of the town with a walking through its elegant buildings, squares and splendid churches of the beautiful Unesco-listed historic centre. You will see the layers below the baroque town in the Roman Amphitheatre - built at a lower level than the baroque town using basaltic dark lava stones - the University Palace with its lovely courtyard decorated with Mt Etna pebble mosaic, the Cathedral (fortress church), two of the "Seven Doors" protecting S. Agatha's treasure and grandiose black-and-white palaces, all while, Mt Etna towers with its powerful presence, as a backdrop. You can't miss to visit the "Pescheria", the vibrant outdoor fish market which reminds us an African souk, with all the fishermen shouting their prices.
One more hour at leisure will allow you to stroll on your own the pedestrian area of this dynamic town offering an abundance of quaint shops, restaurants and very tempting cafeterias where tasting unique almond and pistachio cookies, and the traditional ice-cream (the first one in history was produced in this province).
Meals and drinks
Tips and gratuities
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