A proposal for the creation of an ethno anthropological tour, in support of the San Berillo district of Catania. It originated from an idea from Gaetano Russo.
Inspired by the book “Davanti alla Porta” (In Front of the Door) by Francesco Grasso, alias Franchina.
Welcome to San Berillo
San Berillo is just as you see it. A neighbourhood where things are naked and exposed to sunlight. Where the truth is right in your face, without a spin of words, and always has a price. Welcome to San Berillo, the “Borgo delle Belle” district of Catania.
After the earthquake of 1693, Catania had an urban development in San Berillo that remained unfinished because of the history of the Duchess of Misterbianco. The area remained popular for small artisans and simple people, but unfortunately also was a refuge for mafia, gangsters, smugglers and prostitutes.
This story is a paradigm of Catania’s history; a city harassed by the interest of so many powers that its development was blocked in a modern way. Often we talk about the “gutting” of San Berillo as a metaphor and interpretation of all Catania. If you obverse closely when strolling through the streets of this neighbourhood, you can see the history of the elephant city, its won and lost bets, the relationship with delinquency and the powerful, and even a bit of the soul of many Sicilians, who always have great dreams… but unfortunately they are easily sold to the first bidder.
Today, in this forgotten neighbourhood, prostitution is still practiced. The Houses of Tolerance, declared illegal by the Merlin Law in 1958, were first replaced by houses “occupied by the prostitutes” and finally disappeared in 2000.
Some of these houses are still home to the “transvestite deemed” historic, because after 30 years, today the oldest profession in the world is still being practiced.
In these streets, ruined and bombed during the Second World War, you can visit the home of the writer Goliarda Sapienza, Via delle Finanze, the della Belle square, ethnic restaurants and the Senegalese workers’ chambers, a self-taught Catholic church worshiped by prostitutes, and typical Sicilian courtyards.
San Berillo, the red light district of Catania, is one of the most fascinating and mysterious areas in the city. The secret Catania tour project aims to create an artistic journey, a journey of the soul, aimed at the realization of an urban theme park dedicated to this alternative story of Catania. It starts in the winding streets of this decadent district, and follows the stories and episodes collected In the book “Davanti alla Porta” by Francesco Grasso.
In San Berillo you can experience a free, existential and artistic reflection on the changes of sexual customs in Italy and Europe, just by strolling through the streets of this neighbourhood with a guide and one of the historic characters of the village: Franchina or Wonder. Franchina (Francesco Grasso), disguised and intellectual Catholic with his book ” Davanti alla Porta” offers an opportunity to reflect on the change of sexual habits in contemporary society. He proposes a free reflection on the phenomenon of prostitution and a deepening of the rights of homosexuals and prostitutes, as well as changes in the feeling of love.
The ultimate aim of this is to generate new appreciation for this cultural and tourist district, thus upgrading of the area through the participation of artists and individuals with a heart for San Berillo, while maintaining its original social identity and its character of freedom and social tolerance.
A visit with Franchina the “Borgo delle Belle”, accompanied by the volunteers of the PanVisiOn Association, you walk through the streets of the neighbourhood and discover the hidden history of Catania in the following stages:
- Tree of Life – Piazza Goliarda Sapienza (monument of peace and interreligious dialogue), based on Jewish, Christian and Muslim meditation by Gaetano Russo together with Franchina, Amira Alamoudi and Imama Kheit Abdelafid.
- Graffiti of San Berillo – street art by Luca Prete and friends (see attached map)
- Museo Re.Ba. – small museum being completed
- Goliarda’s House of Wisdom – it’s good to read the art of joy, and stroll around San Berillo by reading the pages of the novels of this Catanese anarchist writer.
- The Sanctuary of San Berillo – Catania’s history from 1693 to present day. A story of a “crippled unfinished”.
- History of ancient crafts and Catania servitudes – a leap in the past of Catania, to imagine how San Berillo was in the 800’s.
By booking the tour you will meet Franchina, Wonder, Blue Angel, Desy and Ramona. With discretion and intelligence you can build on the topics covered in the Franchina’s book “Davanti alla Porta”, a book that also inspired the director Maria Arena to produce the feature film “Gesù è morto per i peccati degli altri” (Jesus died for the sins of others). The book was quoted in numerous other documentaries and both local and national newspapers.
At B&B Globetrotter in Catania in Sicily we will assist you with booking your tour.
For some years, especially among young people between high school and university, have taken the chance to treat themselves to a gap year. But the seventh year is not only the prerogative of young people; even adults, sometimes, at some point in their working career leave work for a period in search of inspiration.
In the past there have been several good initiatives that have attempted to address this need, such as eu-pair jobs and work on organic farms through the Wwoof platform. But neither of those have never spread much, especially in Italy. Perhaps because research was based mostly on personal knowledge.
However. with web development and just a few years, many online platforms have been born that provide more opportunities to carry out volunteer work in all countries of the world! To the point that there has been coined a new term to define all the people participating in this experience in exchange for room and board or just accommodation: workaway (from the first website name dedicated to the work exchange).
I challenge anyone to explore one of the best-known platforms and not begin to dream of doing volunteer work, experiencing the snows of Greenland sled dogs or becoming part of the crew of a boat that makes excursions in Polynesia. In short, the desire to become a globetrotter, and especially the new frenzy to discover the world (wanderlust), has increased day by day by both volunteers and the opportunities offered in various parts of the globe.
Obviously not all experiences are a dream, so you should thoroughly read the offer, working conditions, treatment, location, and the opportunities to share the experience with other volunteers. You can also refer to the reviews, with due caution.
More and more single women, but not only foreign, “fall” in Sicily in search of male attention. The lure is irresistible in this world in which Western feminism has brought a revolution sacrosanct in terms of women’s rights, but also boundaries between the sexes continue to blur and undoubted loss of “roles”, the extreme tip of south Italy jumps out women looking for adventure as a happy oasis. Catania, in particular, is one of the most popular destinations for sex tourism by women, with thousands of groups of friends and women, who choose the beautiful town of Etna with the explicit intention is there eyes.
It is not, however only of sexy tourism in the strict sense, although opportunities in this sense there is no lack of certain sensual pleasure and often represents the longed landing point, but holiday times to rediscover the woman and her femininity. In this sunny land and history, the fantasies of women find fulfillment , from the most spicy ones that smell like confetti. A bath of self-esteem, in fact, able to make in a matter of hours can add benefits of a psychotherapeutic counseling and rejuvenate more than one session of face-lift.
Sicily like Jamaica and Santo Domingo, then? It would seem so, yes, and the reasons are not an unfathomable mystery. Why sex tourism for women located in Catania a unique destination, made so not only costs considerably cheap compared to any exotic destination but also offer everything that a mature woman and demanding and want, a lush and variety of history, cultural life refined and a awesome culinary tradition. Let’s be honest how many other cities in the world offer the opportunity to climb one of the largest active volcanoes in Europe, swim among the rocks of Polyphemus, admire the remains of an ancient Greek theater and satisfy the senses of great sword fish in one day.
Catania likes easy winning and its best card is the Catanese man.
Yeah, because the Catanese takes care of you carefully as you always wished and his talent is make you feel unique desired and beautiful. Few minutes walk in via Etnea make you feel like a super star and you will notice all eyes on you.
Do you think I’m exagerating? So, get your ticket to Catania and you will figure out by yourself. For now just keep in your mind that the Catanese man may get you addicted more than Nutella because
… the Catanese doesn’t what shyness means
If you are looking for holidays spicy and men that can satisfy your desire for transgression, a weekend in Catania certainly will not disappoint. Prepare to be welcomed for the way between smiles that spread copious as a sunny day after downpour, to be accompanied by long whistles of admiration as you stroll between the windows for reason there are cleary obvious l will not be forced to bring it back to the road. That man are forces to be direct as Red Arrow, and it can sometimes seem brash rarely strays far not allowed, keeping the irresistible mix of cockiness and Latin gallantry gentleman old fashioned that make, for women in search of adventure, a unique collectibles.
… the Catanese makes you feel a real woman
Think carefully before you answer, how long has it been since you felt a woman with a capital W ? If the answer is a long time then search no more. But to put all the blame on men, because the responsibility rests, as always in this world, in both parties. Western society has exchanged equal rights for equal roles and now lives a worrisome leveling of the sexes, with women forced to barter their femininity in exchange for recognition and the man to take refuge in a corner like a frightened animal confused on their identity. For some mysterious divine concession Sicily has managed to reconcile modernity and tradition, recognizing the woman rights but the duties while preserving gender roles rather defined. That’s because Sicily, and Catania in the first place, are so attractive a destination for single women in search of adventure but also a hint of romance.
Do not be surprised, therefore, if when you make the gesture of paying your glass of wine the bartender shake his head saying “Here we are in Sicily, lady, and ladies from us do not pay”, or if the rider of the moment you open the door the machine to get up and find it hard to wait for the end of appetizer to flood you with a flood of compliments. The man Catania knows the value of a woman and never misses a chance to remind her.
… The Catanese will bring home to mom
The Italian is “mama’s boy”, you know, and if this “quality” does not always stand out as a quality eye foreigner is no doubt that on occasion has its advantages. Dating in the dark? Clandestine adventures? Romantic dates away from prying eyes? But even dream! The man Catania takes you straight to lunch Mammì. That welcomes you, not even to say, as his favorite Picciridda, riempiendoti of questions and smiles while trying to rifilarti yet another portion of caponata. If the structured life and a bit ‘chilly you’re used to do not yet ruined, the sudden immersion in the warmth Sicilian family will have on your body for attention the effect of a vaporous and enveloping aroma bath in a Jacques
… the Catanese men are statistically more than women
For example you just take a walk in the evening in Teatro Massimo, the heart of Catania scene, the men travel far outnumber women. Tradition plays an important role also in this case, because although things have changed dramatically in recent decades, it is still quite unusual for the woman Catania go out at night with friends, especially if you focus the potential encounters with the opposite sex. This means many more men at large and, in view of the feminine fond of sex tourism, “more men on the loose” is equivalent to an appetizing number of prey available.
Catania is an attractive destination not only for women in search of adventure, but also for the LGBT community. Read our article on Catania Gay Friendly.
Traditional, ethnic, vegetarian and vegan breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Themed events and tours, spiced with the musical, cultural, and historical treasures of the diverse local regions of the world. Many creative variations, but only one common denominator: a shared table among friends for the purpose to taste a menu of homemade food from natural ingredients, often grown in the same place, at prices lower than those of restaurants. Such an idea has finally gained foothold in Italy, where good food rhymes with good society and living.
Along with the need to save money and the desire to rediscover traditional cuisine, the phenomena of social eating, or the home restaurant as it is sometimes called, is expanding even to Italy, late as to abide the Italian standard of tardiness. While the sites that bring the guests and home chefs continue to sprout up like mushrooms – Gnammo being the largest, with over 90,000 “gnammers” and nearly 3,000 active chefs -, finally the Italian Minister of Economic Development
has placed a stop order on social eating with a legislative vote used to protect the traditional restaurant economy.
Last April arrived the verdict: home restaurants have all the features of a normal restaurant and therefore are bound to the regulatory rules of traditional restaurants. In simple terms, the Italian bureaucracy sees the home restaurants as a river of tax revenue that is not being touched. Consequently, home restaurants have now entered a strange area politically and legally, rendering them semi-legal, in which they are only allowed under presence of cultural associations.
However, the home restaurants business is hardly a source of monetary wealth, when often hardly more than a refund of the costs involved are asked. These small private restaurants can hardly be compared to the restaurant industry where health is sacrificed in the name of profit.
To oppose this inequitable decision, hundreds of home restaurants have united to form HomeRestaurantItalia, giving life to the protest that quickly has enlarged and gained the interest of Change.org (here is the petition [https://www.change.org/p/parlamento-italiano-home-food-approvazione-ddl-s-1271-del-27-02-2014]). The request is simple: overflow the legislative system with support for the proposed law that has been sitting on the senate floor for over a year. Far from perfect, DDL S.1271 of Febrary 27, 2014 would give a clear and needed distinction between home and professional restaurants, identifying the former as “an activity which sustains not only the hospitality of a city, but the rich cultural history through its traditional recipes that give it character, without neglecting to improve the domestic life of a city. In short, it’s not just food, it’s social eating.
Hopefully, Italy will follow in the footsteps of the other European nations where the home restaurant business is not in competition with the professional restaurants, but rather a complementary feature
(similarly to how the bed & breakfasts are an alternative to the hotel industry). Home restaurants continue to proliferate uncontrollably, riding the raising wave of social sharing. To clip the wings of a phenomena which is bringing life back to the dying culture of homemade food is to deny the easily visible long-term benefits of social eating: creating new economic income, creating new jobs, and sustaining local culture. At this moment, it is possible to assist in the cause by trying the home-restaurant service which can still be offered by cultural associations. In Catania, we recommend Federico II, which not only organizes cooking lessons, but also lunches and dinners seated directly above the historic fish market “a Piscaria”.
Make your visit in Catania Sicily really special: learn to cook like a real Italian and experience the warm-hearted and relaxed atmosphere of a family restaurant, eating dishes you have prepared yourself alongside fellow lovers of Italian cuisine. With the Globetrotter B&B cooking classes, you will discover Catania whilst being entertained and educated.
Anyone who has ever visited Catania could tell you: this is an unforgettable city, and not only for its historical baroque centre, famous around the world, the stunning Mt. Etna and its national park, the warm climate that graces its beaches for most of the year, or the vibrant night-life. Catania will always stay in your heart for its rich and flavoursome culinary tradition.
The fish that come in fresh every morning, the Pasta alla Norma, alivi cunzati (seasoned olives), arancini, granita with brioche, all of those tiny sweet delicacies that you can never have enough of, wines of the highest quality to accompany a varied and exciting cuisine…
A journey amongst the delicacies of Catania is never-ending.
So, since there is no better way to discover a city than tasting its food, if you really want to get to know the soul of Catania, you mustn’t miss this unique opportunity to discover the secrets of its most famous dishes and learn to cook them, so that at the end of your journey you can go home with a genuine Sicilian experience.
Our cooking classes, however, won’t just teach you to cook like a real Italian: they will make you feel like a real Italian, as before you get cooking, you’ll be going out and choosing the best ingredients to bring your dishes to life.
One of our chefs will come with you to go shopping amongst the stalls of the characteristic Catania fish market (at Piscarìa), where on top of the experience of daily Sicilian life, you will be able to touch, to taste, to learn to identify and choose with care the ingredients for your very own menù del giorno.
Once you’ve filled up your baskets, it’s time to get cooking! In the building of the cultural assocation and Italian school Federico II, in one of the most beautiful palaces on Piazza del Duomo, a fully-equipped kitchen is waiting for you where, with the professional guidance of our staff, you will learn step-by-step how to “put together” the dish of the day.
But what pleasure is there in cooking if you can’t… taste it!
So, when the aromas start spilling from the kitchen, when the wine bottles are being uncorked, the last part of the course begins, the most awaited, the most “social”, the most fun part: Lunch.
Here in Sicily, we don’t like overly-formal atmospheres, so we will all have lunch around one big table, like friends that have come together from each corner of the world to socialise, to get to know one another, to discuss cooking and toast the day we’ve enjoyed with each other.
In a relaxed, typically Italian atmosphere, glasses clinking and chins wagging, you’ll test your cooking abilities alongside your fellow adventurers, tasting the dishes that you yourselves have prepared. And when you return home, the secrets of those dishes will be with you.
Italian cooking class schedule
11:00 – 12:00 Shopping at the fish-market.
12:00 – 13:30 Cooking lesson in English.
13:30 – 14:30 Lunch and socialising.
Price: €49 per persons, lunch and drinks included (water, red or white wine dell’Etna).
Max. 10 participants
Cooking has never been so fun! Contact us to find out the dates and details of the next cooking class organised by Globetrotter B&B Catania!
Operating in 19 countries, Blablacar is the most well known online car sharing platform in the world, conceived, just like all the great social network successes, almost by chance. To date it lays claim to 20 million subscribers and 2 billion miles shared.
Its great success has a simple reason; more passengers in the same vehicle doesn’t just mean a more fun and interesting ride, but also a significant reduction in cost and time. A modern version of hitch hiking, basically, which is completely trustworthy thanks to the accurate feedback system that the platform uses.
Subscription is free and instantaneous, and the site is easy to use. All you have to do is input the journey and date desired, look over the drivers that offer places, compare the prices then negotiate with the driver themselves, who will be paid once the journey is through.
The idea of sharing car journeys has always been attractive to Italians and Sicilians, where trips are often slow and tiring, and BlaBlaCar has become a viable substitute to public transport, looking to become the trendiest, cheapest and most fun way of visiting the island this summer.
Why? For these five reasons:
- With BlaBlaCar you save money
This is as true for the driver as it is for the passengers. One figure is immediately evident on visiting the site: sharing the costs with others, the driver could save up to 75%, between petrol and tolls. Working out how much a passenger might save is a little more complicated, as costs vary based on the period and the destination, but one might consider that the average cost of a trip from Milan to Bologna, based on an average of three passengers, is 12 Euros; all you need to do is take a look at the Trenitalia website for an idea of the savings.
- With BlaBlaCar you save time
Trains are a very picturesque way of travelling around Italy but unfortunately they are rarely punctual and the buses, while a good alternative, are often slow and torturous, and one runs the risk of spending hours upon hours with one’s nose pressed up against a window rather than making the most of the holidays.
The fastest way to get around Sicily is undoubtedly by car and BlaBlaCar allows people to reduce the impact of its sole downside; the cost of petrol.
- With BlaBlaCar you meet new people
Reading the testimonials of those that have tried BlaBlaCar, it seems that, rather than the reduction in cost and time, both drivers and passengers appreciate being able to make new acquaintances more than anything else. Those that have used the application on a regular basis have found regular “chauffeurs” and “customers”, discovered friends in common and organised get-togethers, met new friends and some even found love!
- With BlaBlaCar you are helping the environment
Carsharing not only gives you company and helps you save money and time, but is also a realistic way to help the environment. According to Olivier Bremer, the national manager of BlaBlaCar Italia, if every vehicle drove fully occupied the annual reduction in CO2 would total 40 billion tonnes. Fantasy? Maybe. But since they began, BlaBlaCar have reduced total toxin output by 700,000 tonnes.
- With BlaBlaCar you broaden your horizons
Read the stories from the blog [trovare link del paese] and you will find people who have car-shared with aspiring actors, tightrope walkers, entire families, as well as young travellers from every corner of the world . It’s a language exchange on four wheels, basically, and an opportunity to encounter unfamiliar cultures. So there you go, the miracle of BlaBlaCar: to condense the world in a single vehicle, allowing travellers to grow their minds and their hearts.
What are you waiting for? Book your first voyage with BlaBlaCar and go discover Sicily, the staff of B&B Globetrotter Catania will be delighted to help you!
The new self catering apartment Syracuse in Ortigia Archimede is the Globetrotter Residence, it is a very comfortable holiday flat perfect for two people but able to accommodate up to 4. It is situated on the ground level. Our Residence is in the heart of the antique Ortigia market in the historical centre of Syracuse, Sicily. This vacation rental has a spacious living area with a double bed, two bedsides, a sofa bed, a wardrobe, a mirror and a table with 4 chairs. It also has air conditioning, free wifi internet and a TV. There is finally a fully equipped kitchen and bathroom with shower and bidet. Hairdryer, sheets and towels are also provided. The Railway and Bus station are just a 10 minute walk away and the Neopolis archaeological park in Syracuse (where Greek Tragedies and comedies were and are performed in the famous outdoor theatre) is only a mile away from the Syracuse Globetrotter short term rental apartments.
Syracuse (or Siracusa) was the most important city of Magna Graecia. It defeated the mighty Athens in 413 and was home to many a great Greek, including the inimitable Archimedes. At the height of its economic, political and military powers, the city had a population of 300,000 and, according to Cicero, was “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”.
One of the most highly venerated virgin martyrs of Christian antiquity, Saint Agatha is the patron saint of Catania, Sorihuela del Guadalimar (Spain), Molise, San Marino and Malta. With crowds of up to 1,000,000 strong, there are few mass expressions of devotion as popular as the Festa di Sant’Agata in Catania.
The whole city turns out en masse, tens of thousands come from afar to express their gratitude or to pray for intercession and many others just come for the incredible atmosphere, the fireworks and the food! So important is Sant’Agata in the spiritual lives of the Catanesi that they celebrate her life twice a year: the first, most important festa takes place from 3rd – 5th February and remembers her martyrdom, while the second, held on 17th August, records the return of her mortal remains to the city from Constantinople in 1126, after an absence of 86 years.
Born into a Patrician family in Catania, the devoutly religious Sant’Agata soon attracted the amorous attentions of the Roman Proconsul Quintianus, who wished to take her as his wife. She refused, staunchly defending her honour and her faith and Quintianus’s courtship quickly turned to religious persecution and psychopathic hatred. After enduring the horrific torture of being rolled on hot coals and having her breasts amputated, Sant’Agata died on 5th February 251.
Here the official website and the Festival’s schedule http://www.circolosantagata.it/scarica-il-programma-della-festa.html
The B&B Catania Globetrotter is just few minutes walking far from all celebrations.