Catania and Taormina: 5 days in Sicily

I spent 5 days in Sicily with my family and friends, enjoying the new year eve, some days of relax, some quick tour and the food. The food, of course. No one can go in Sicily and avoid the food. It’s impossible. I can assure you that the food in Sicily is terrific, but there is a lot to see. The weather and the situation in general weren’t so good (snow, earthquakes and eruptions), but I had a very nice imprinting from the island. 

31/12/2018 This is Catania.

I arrived in Catania in the late morning and I spent the rest of the day walking around the city center doing my best to see the whole city. Originally founded as a Greek colony, Catania lies on the eastern coast of Sicily, and has been part of numerous Empires and cultures including the Carthaginians, the Roman Republic, the Ostrogoths and eventually became part of the Kingdom of Italy. The most important and famous avenue of Catania it’s via Etnea. This one cuts in two half the city center leaving a beautiful view to the tallest volcano of Europe: the Etna. Along this road it is possible to see Giardino Bellini, the Botanical Gardens, the Roman theater and via dei Crociferi with The Church of St. Francesco Borgia, The Church of San Benedetto, The Church of St. Francis Assisi and the Church of San Giuliana. In the heart of the city, close to the port area, there is Piazza del Duomo with the impressive Fontana dell’Elefante, the Fontana dell’Amenano (near the traditional mercato, market of fish), S. Agata Cathedral with the Achilliane thermae and the Palazzo degli Elefanti. I spent the new year eve at home eating and drinking a lot. Scacciata, arancini and frittelle. I definitely love Sicily.

 

01/01/2019 Can you feel the sea today?

My second day in Catania has the taste of granita. For breakfast, I had the one and only real sicilian granita with brioche. I tried the almond and coffee flavors, delicious. I spent the morning walking by the sea, going through the famous San Giovanni Li Cuti beach. Near his volcanic sands and rocks, there is a small but beautiful harbor with wooden fishing boats. The colors of the harbor are magnificent, but the most impressive thing here is the color of the water. Light blue clean water that let you see up to the bottom  of the sea. Here some people had their first bath in the sea of the year. Outside the temperature was around 16°C, but the water was for sure cold: crazy people!

 

In the evening I had a quick tour of Catania by night. The smell of Christmas was still there and the holidays lights were around the city, making Catania nicer than ever.

 

02/01/2019 There is something in the middle of the sea.

Third day in Sicily, and the goal of the day are i Faraglioni. Aci Trezza is a seaside village near by the Ionian Sea in front of the small archipelago of the islands of the Cyclops, also called Faraglioni. The legend, told in the Odyssey, attributes the origin of the Faraglioni to the wrath of the Cyclops Polyphemus, who blinded by Ulysses, thrown to the Greek hero large rocks to stop him to escape by Sea. In reality, the islands of the Cyclops were formed after an intense volcanic activity about half a million years ago. Aci Trezza provided also the setting for one of the most famous novels of Giovanni Verga, I Malavoglia, published in 1831. On a promontory overlooking the sea, a few steps from the Faraglioni, rises the beautiful Norman Castle, built with lava stone from Etna. At the foot of the castle there is one of the most characteristic harbor of the area, where, in the early morning, it is possible to buy fresh fish.

 

03/01/2019 Très chic.

Taormina, one of the most popular destinations in Sicily, it is famous for his ancient ruins, narrow streets and his amazing view on mount Etna and the coast: just under Taormina there is one of the most beautiful and inviting coastline of Sicily all. In Piazza Duomo there is the Cathedral of Taormina, one of the town’s most interesting landmarks with is 600 years of history, but the most interesting place is the ancient Greek Theatre, 2000 years old, well known for his large arena and striking architecture. Here I had also a extraordinary cannolo, probably the most delicious thing I had in Sicily.

 

04/01/2019 The beauty and the beast.

Last day in Sicily, so what is better than a granita to start this day? This time I had chocolate and pistachio, probably the best choice ever. After the breakfast, I went to La Playa, the most famous sandy coast in Catania that extends for 18 km from the port. In January, in Sicily the weather is good but not always so good and, of course, that day has been particularly windy and cloudy: probably the worst day to go to the beach. I spent the evening collecting my things in the suitcase and thanking my hosts for the great time had here in Sicily. The return flight had “only” 2 hours of delay due to an extraordinary snow in all south Italy, so I had the chance to eat two more arancini before I leave Catania. Not too bad.

the_beauty_and_the_beast_sicily_myhiddensuitcase_2019

For sure, Sicily is a wonderful land, with great food and a lot of history, but the most incredible thing here is the sea. The color of the sea is terrific: I have to come back here in summer. Absolutely.

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See you next time. Bless!

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4 thoughts on “Catania and Taormina: 5 days in Sicily

  1. Have been to Catania twice and just loved the food, wine and sea! Also, spent 3 days in Taormina and ate at those tucked-in quaint, little restaurants serving amazingly delicious food. Enjoyed granitas the Sicilian way-with brioche and espresso!

    Liked by 1 person

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