Catania Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Catania

Catania is a very beautiful ancient Italian city. The most remarkable landmarks are concentrated in the downtown area of Catania where the streets are so attractive thanks to the magnificent Baroque architecture of the palaces, churches and monuments. Take this orientation walk to visit the best attractions of Catania.
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Catania Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Catania Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Italy » Catania (See other walking tours in Catania)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Cathedral of Catania
  • Elephant Fountain
  • City Hall
  • University Palace
  • Piazza Bellini
  • Basilica della Collegiata
  • Via Etnea
  • Monument to Vincenzo Bellini
  • Roman Amphitheater
  • Villa Cerami
  • Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena
  • Church of St. Benedict
  • Roman Theater of Catania
  • Odeon
  • Bellini Civic Museum
  • Museum of Emilio Greco
  • Casa Museo Giovanni Verga
  • Museo Civico
Cathedral of Catania

1) Cathedral of Catania (must see)

The Cathedral of Catania, entitled to St. Agatha, is a church in Catania constructed in 1078-1093, on the ruins of the ancient Roman Achillean Baths, by order of Roger I of Sicily, who had conquered the city from the Islamic emirate of Sicily. At the time it had the appearance of a fortified church (ecclesia munita).

In 1169 it was nearly entirely destroyed by an earthquake, leaving only the apse area intact. Further damage was introduced by a fire in 1169, but the most catastrophic event was the 1693 earthquake, which again left it mostly in ruins. It was subsequently rebuilt in Baroque style. Today, traces of the original Norman edifice include part of the transept, the two towers and the three semicircular apses, composed of large lava stones, most of them recovered from imperial Roman buildings. The current appearance of the church date to the 1711 century design of Gian Battista Vaccarini, who designed a new Baroque façade after the 1693 earthquake. It has three floors with Corinthian columns, in granite, perhaps taken from the Roman Theatre of the city. All the orders are decorated with marble statues of St. Agatha over the gate, St. Euplius on the right and St. Birillus on the left.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Elephant Fountain

2) Elephant Fountain (must see)

The Elephant Fountain is the symbol of Catania. It stands in the historical center of the city - Piazza Duomo or Cathedral Square. This Catanian monument is made in "non-Sicilian" style. It looks more like an Asian statue as Catania had some relations with the East in the past. It was sculpted from volcanic stone in the 17th century and represents a mix of ancient Roman and baroque styles. Today you will see, in Piazza Duomo, the elephant and the obelisk that the locals refer to as "Liotru". The monument has some mystical history behind it.
City Hall

3) City Hall (must see)

City Hall or Municipio is located now in what was Palazzo degli Elefanti. This palace was built in 1696, after the terrible earthquake. There are several balconies, and from one of them Mussolini spoke to people. There is a main courtyard and a second courtyard at the palace that is worth seeing. The building has facades from each of its parts. There is a grand staircase that leads to the main courtyard and 4 porticoes that were built much later at the end of the 18th century.
University Palace

4) University Palace (must see)

The University Palace of Catania is located close to Duomo Square. The University of Catania was founded in 1414. Many architects participated in its construction, among them the famous architect Giovan Battista. The palace is in the excellent condition both on the exterior and the interior. The main facade is very beautiful. You will see a marble eagle, bells and other decorations. It is illuminated by street lamps at night that makes it look particularly impressive.
Piazza Bellini

5) Piazza Bellini (must see)

Piazza Bellini or Piazza Teatro Massimo, where the theater Massimo Bellini is situated, is the place for a night out in Catania as there are many night clubs and bars on this square and along the street with the same name. This square is crowded with the young and beautiful people of Catania. During warm seasons, the bars have tables out along the street where you can sit and watch people walking and drinking. This street is partly pedestrianized.
Basilica della Collegiata

6) Basilica della Collegiata (must see)

The Basilica della Collegiata is a church in Catania. The church was built in the early 18th century, after the earthquake of 1693 that had destroyed most of the city. The design of the church is attributed to Angelo Italia, who changed the orientation of the previous edifice destroyed by the earthquake, in order to have it facing the new via Uzeda (current Etnea Street) according to the rebuilding plan of the city.

The façade, designed by Stefano Ittar, is one of the most notable examples of Sicilian Baroque in Catania. It has two orders, the first of which featuring six stone columns, surmounted by a balaustrade. The second order has a large central window, with, at the sides, four large statues of St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Agatha and St. Apollonia. Over the second floor is a central element housing the bells.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Via Etnea

7) Via Etnea (must see)

Via Etnea is a paradise for women as it is the main shopping street in Catania. There are many Italian designer shops that offer fashionable clothes and accessories for modern women. There are also many jewelry and watch shops along this street. This shopping street is very popular among tourists and there are always crowds of foreigners shopping there.
Monument to Vincenzo Bellini

8) Monument to Vincenzo Bellini (must see)

You can see the Monument to Vincenzo Bellini in the historical Piazza Stesicoro. Vincenzo Bellini was a famous, world renowned Italian composer. This is a beautiful, tall monument that represents the statue of the composer on a high pedestal with figures of people below it.
Roman Amphitheater

9) Roman Amphitheater (must see)

Roman Amphitheater of Catania is situated in Piazza Stesicoro and it is the largest amphitheater on the island of Sicily. It could accommodate about 20 000 people. The amphitheater is a very ancient, historical monument of Catania that dates back to the 2nd century. The building materials for the amphitheater were lava block stones. Only part of the amphitheater is visible today as it was covered by lava during the volcanoes and earthquakes and some lava blocks were taken from the amphitheater for the construction of the Duomo (Cathedral) of Catania.
Villa Cerami

10) Villa Cerami

Villa Cerami is an artistically baroque palace and a historical building in Catania. It was built several years after the devastating earthquake of 1693. Today it is the seat of the Faculty of Law of the University of Catania. It rises at the end of Crociferi street. One of the remarkable features of its architecture is the adorned portal that is the entry to a large courtyard of the villa. You will see there the monumental staircase decorated with a fountain. It is the remarkable work of Vaccarini, famous architect of this beautiful city.
Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena

11) Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena (must see)

Monastery of St. Nicholas Arena is situated in the very heart of the historic center of Catania. This large historical and religious complex consists of an old Benedict monastery and of a monumental church built in the 18th century in the style of Roman churches. The complex occupies an area of 100 000 square meters and is considered the second largest monastery in all of Europe. It is a very important monastery that accumulated considerable wealth over the years, and was visited by queens, princes and rulers of countries.
Church of St. Benedict

12) Church of St. Benedict (must see)

San Benedetto is a church in Catania. Dedicated to St. Benedict of Nursia, it was built between 1704 and 1713. The church is part of a complex including also the Badia Maggiore and the Badia Minore, connected by a covered bridge over the road.

Its mos famous feature is the Angel's Staircase, a marble entrance stair decorated with statues of angels and surrounded by a wrought iron railings. The entrance door, in wood, has panels with Stories of St. Benedict.The interior, with a single nave, is home to frescoes by Sebastiano Lo Monaco, Giovanni Tuccari and Matteo Desiderato. The vault is frescoed with scenes of the life of St. Benedict. The high altar is in polychrome marble with hardsstone intarsia and bronze panels.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Roman Theater of Catania

13) Roman Theater of Catania (must see)

Roman Theater of Catania is situated next to Odeon and is another example of ancient Roman architecture in Catania. It dates back to 300 B.C. It was built mainly from black lava stones and other materials that make it look like polychrome. Here you can see what is left from the original Theater. Roman buildings of the old Roman city became the foundations for other buildings of the city and today you can see Baroque palaces built upon part of the theater.

14) Odeon (must see)

The Odeon of Catania is one of the most significant monuments of ancient Catania. The Odeon exemplifies ancient Roman architecture in Catania. It was built as a semicircular construction that could accommodate 1500 spectators. This Odeon is similar to those funded in other Greek and Roman cities. The building material was mainly lava rock, but also bricks and marble. The orchestra - semicircular space between the auditorium and the stage, was and still is paved with marble. Some of the rooms in Odeon were restored in the sixties, but their function remains unclear until today.
Bellini Civic Museum

15) Bellini Civic Museum (must see)

Bellini Civic Museum is dedicated to the famous composer Vincenzo Bellini. It is the home where he was born. He studied in Naples, where he wrote some of his famous works. In this museum are authentic musical manuscripts with the signature of this great Italian composer. You will discover details about the artistic and personal life of Bellini and see the cabinet where he worked, documents, memories and objects that belonged to him. There are also models of scenes, paintings and more.
Museum of Emilio Greco

16) Museum of Emilio Greco (must see)

Museum of Emilio Greco displays the oil paintings and engravings of 20th century Sicilian artist Emilio Greco. He was famous for abstract nude forms, though at the beginning, his work was appreciated more in New York and Tokyo than in Sicily. This museum has been displaying his works in Catania since 1994. The collection is extensive. There are more than 1500 graphic works, among which one can see engravings, lithographs and others. There is also ‘Commiati’ - one of his most famous works. The museum is located on the second floor.
Casa Museo Giovanni Verga

17) Casa Museo Giovanni Verga (must see)

Casa Museo Giovanni Verga is located in a beautiful nineteenth century palace where this great person lived. It is set in an apartment on the second floor. There are furniture and books that belonged to Giovanni Verga - an Italian realist writer. He wrote about life in Sicily through short stories and novels. He also had a passion for photography. There is a collection of photographs in the museum featuring his mother, brothers, uncles, nieces and the peasants who worked for the Verga family.
Museo Civico

18) Museo Civico (must see)

Museo Civico is located in Castello Ursino, which used to be the fortress of Frederick II and dates back to the 13th century. This old fortress is a museum in and of itself as it reveals the history of ancient times. It is also the national monument of Sicily that was large enough to house Museo Civico. The museum holds antique masterpieces from the 14th century of the greatest Italian artists. There are many renaissance sculptures, ceramics, a remarkable collection of valuable Greek and Roman coins as well as findings from ancient excavations.

Walking Tours in Catania, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Catania

Create Your Own Walk in Catania

Creating your own self-guided walk in Catania is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Catania Museums Walking Tour

Catania Museums Walking Tour

There are various museums in Catania. You can visit museums housed in fascinating castles. There are museums dedicated to the outstanding personalities who lived in Catania. This self-guided tour leads you to the museums that will reveal the rich history and culture of Catania.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Catania is a city of many churches that make its streets look so beautiful and historical. The churches in this city go back many centuries and represent the magnificent architecture of those ancient times. You will contemplate the rich decorations of gold, bronze and marble inside the impressive buildings. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most important religious sights of Catania.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
East Catania Walking Tour

East Catania Walking Tour

You will find several unique and worthwhile attractions in the eastern part of the city of Catania. Catania is full of beautiful palaces and the east of the city is not the exception. There are also monuments, fountains and an unusual beach with lava sand. This self-guided tour will lead you through east Catania and the more modern part of this beautiful city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Coastline Area Walking Tour

Coastline Area Walking Tour

Catania is located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It has some interesting attractions along the coastline area. You will find a museum, a beautiful baroque fountain, the port and of course the beach. This self-guided tour will lead you through these and other worthwhile places on the coastline of Catania.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Catania's Architectural Jewels Tour

Catania's Architectural Jewels Tour

Catania is famous for its splendid Baroque and Rococo architecture. The city's building material consisted mainly of gray lava stone. There are many magnificent palaces, churches and theaters. There are ancient Roman ruins that still exemplify the beautiful architecture of the past. Take this self-guided to explore the architectural sights of Catania.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles