A week-end in Catania Sicily

25 Nov

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With its extraordinary baroque old town, the beaches overlooking a
crystalline sea, the impressive profile of Etna , its culinary
excellence and its vibrant  nightlife, Catania is undoubtedly one of
the most interesting not only in Sicily, but of all Italy.
Treat yourself to a weekend of history, sea, entertainment and
cuisine, treat  yourself to a  weekend in Catania!

 

Porta Garibaldi

Just read the inscription below the arch of Porta Ferdinandea (today
Porta Garibaldi) to understand the essence of Catania, Melior de
cinere Surgo, “reborn from the ashes even more beautiful.” Because if
seven times the fury of Etna ,the people of Catania rebuilt seven
times and each time became more beautiful.

Hard to say what affects on the city, the extraordinary richness of
baroque buildings of the old town that has “forced”  UNESCO to declare
it a World Heritage Site, the transparent waters of its beaches, the
imposing presence of Etna smoking undaunted or sizzling nightlife that
extends until the morning, the fact is that Catania is easy to fall
madly in love with.

Of course, a weekend will not be enough time to discover all the magic
of the city but it will be enough to get a taste of this eclectic city
and experience you will not easily forget.

Here, is the advice of the B & B Globetrotter Catania to see and
experience  the best of Catania in three days.

Friday
If you arrive before sunset  Catania will welcome you the top of its
form. Landing at Fontanarossa is already a dive into the beauty of the
landscape, with Mount Etna in the background and prickly pear on the
street corners. Take the Alibus its (4 euro) and get off to the
Arches, then continue on foot for (5 minutes) to reach via Auteri and
the B & B Globetrotter, where we will welcome you with all the
information you need to start your weekend off in Catania.

scoprire catania_piazza_duomo

Head first  to the Piazza del Duomo to admire the magical play of
light that illuminates the baroque facades of the City Hall, the Porta
Uzeda, the impressive Duomo and the Amenano fountain,U Liotru, the
elephant of lava stone symbol of Catania, it stands out in all its
extravagant beauty in the center of the square. Continuing along Via
Etnea, you will find another gem, University Square, where the
headquarters of the rectory.

Continue to Piazza Stesicoro, where, in front of the ruins of the
Roman amphitheater with 15,000 seats located literally under your
feet, you can really understand the history of Catania and see how
they Etna has upset the city over and over again.

Return to Via Manzoni, to turn right on the Alessi Steps, the end of
which you will find yourself in the beautiful Crociferi, a pearl of
Baroque architecture among which Villa Cerami  Faculty of Law and many
churches, including that of St. Giuliano attributed to Giovan Battista
Vaccarini and sets a number of films (Bell’Antonio, History of a
blackcap, The Viceroy).

weekend_catania_anfiteatro

Before going back it is a must to stop at the kiosk, an place for the
people of Catania to get a hot drink or order a soda and lemon salt
(must) or any other fancy drinks made of fruit syrup and soda water.

When you make time for dinner, The Catania cuisine is an endless world
to explore that satisfies every taste. For this first evening you can
not pass up a fish dinner. Head to the fish market when the square is
filled with excellent restaurants, our favorite is definitely the
Antica Marina.

For lovers of nightlife, Catania has an unparalleled tradition. After
taking a coffee in one of the various restaurants in the city, you can
immerse yourself in the nightlife of Catania, strictly not before 23.
In the square of the Teatro Bellini you will find many pubs and
terraces, some of which are home to live concerts and are also
suitable for older people . The Key point out, Agora, Wine Bar,
Nievski, Paper Mill, Glamour and Scenario Public.

movida_catania

At night you can head to a nightclub, in the summer you will find 90%
of the coast of sand (Playa) or on the cliffs, while in winter
everything takes place in the historical center (MA, 4 winds,
Industries, Barbara Disco Lab, mecati General etc.)

Before returning to the B & B Globetrotter Catania, it is only right
to pass the Etoile d’Or, famous bar next to Piazza Duomo and the fish
market is open 24 hours, where you can find all the specialties of the
typical diner rotisserie Catania and Sicilian or something sweet.

Saturday
After an energetic breakfast (in summer the inevitable granita and
brioche, but also excellent turnovers, iris, ravioli ricotta,
pistachio, cream …), perhaps by Prestipino, in Cathedral Square at
the corner of Via Garibaldi, you’re ready to immerse yourself in the
soul truest of Catania, just a stone’s throw from the B & B
Globetrotter Catania: piscarìa, the fish market. Open every morning
(except Sundays) from 8 to 14, this ancient market has lost over time
even a bit ‘of its charm. Wandering among the stalls selling fresh
fish by being enveloped by the smells and the cries of fishmongers is
an immersion in the folklore of the city and in the hectic atmosphere
and colored by Arab souk.

week-end_Catania_fish_market

Return on Piazza Duomo and if you want you can visit, as well as
inside the cathedral, including the underground part of the square
which houses the Roman baths Achilleane (entrance from Mueso
Diocesan).

Take now Via Vittorio Emanuele and after 200 meters you can admire one
of the most famous places in Catania the Greek-Roman Theatre and the
Odeon. After a dip in the glorious atmosphere, it’s time to take a
leap forward in the annals of the late Baroque reaching Piazza Dante,
where you will find the famous Benedictine Monastery. Guided tours to
this eighteenth-century jewel, one of the many World Heritage
enclosing Catania, leave every hour and last about an hour and a half
(from 9 to 18).

After having nourished the eyes and the mind is the time to satisfy
your stomach. Treat yourself to a meal as you have fish in the square
of the fish market .

catania_villa_bellini

To dispose of the calories accumulated there’s nothing better than a
nice walk. Go up along Via Etnea until reaching the monumental Villa
Bellini, a meeting place for athletes, the elderly and families of
Catania. Do not miss the floral calendar which is updated every
morning, the Avenue of Illustrious Men and the view from the terrace
that stretches from the sea to the impressive profile of Etna. Going
back to Via Etnea, you can turn left into Via San Giuliano and then
admire the Teatro Bellini, jewel of baroque Catania (open from Tuesday
to Saturday from 10 to 12). Then continue to Biscari Palace, built
after the devastating earthquake of 1693 by one of the most powerful
aristocratic families of the city and enjoyed, among others that go
during their famous trip to Sicily (visits by appointment from the
website).

At this point, if it is sunset time, we should enter the port and
along the pier of Levante, a strip of concrete that will allow you to
take pictures of wonderful colors as the sun goes down and the city
silhouetted Etna view by the sea.

For dinner, tonight we want to dive into the real celebrities of
Catania: horse meat. Head to one of the restaurants that line Ursino
Castle and try one of the many variants in which it is served, or
treat yourself to the unforgettable experience of a street food in Via
Plebiscito.

Sunday

Catania_la_playa

After demanding a Saturday, Sunday deserves to be devoted to rest, and
Catania in the summer means one thing the sea. The beaches of Catania
are many, each different from the others. You can choose the 5 km of
sandy beach called Playa, with its beaches, which differ in service
and atmosphere and also home to three public beaches, or the lava
coast called “promenade” in the first part and “cliff” after, also
characterized by private beaches with facilities for young people and
families or wooden platforms with public access to the sea.

An interesting alternative may be a trip to Acicastello and Acitrezza
that, in addition to having one of the most beautiful beaches of
Catania, also offer cultural and tourist attractions perfect for
winter days.

Another option, if the time of your flight I’ll grant, is a morning or
classic tour Etna: will leave you breathless.

However you choose, the morning will spend pleasant, getting you back
to the b & b happy to pack up and head, finally, to the airport. With
Catania in the heart and we are ready to bet it, promising to return
soon!

Your weekend in Catania went too fast and you have decided to
concedervene another? Then you can not miss the advice of the B & B
Globetrotter Catania for a route outside the usual tourist guides: Ten
things to do in Catania unusual (but not too)

Discovering Catania in Sicily with 15 details.

25 Nov

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When  you are in Catania you think of  Baroque painting of the Piazza del Duomo u Liotru, the Monastery of the Benedictines, Greek-Roman Etnan theater , which are some of the most famous place her to see, but there is much more.

… Catania is a maze of streets submerged by the graffiti and all kinds of goods for sale. It is the confusion of the Fish Market and the smoke rising from the copious barbecue Via Plebiscito. It is the decadent charm of the red light district (San Beryl), the irresistible mix of ethnic groups, smells and tastes that run the city day and night. It’s striking mosaic of activity fruitful, creative and courageous, that is reclaiming the land and the observance are administrative respond spreading culture and art of recycling.

Catania is a bizarre and wild flower difficult to grasp and to describe. But like all the flowers occasionally he lost some petals. And some of them, sometimes, they stop on the lens of a camera.

Here in Catania 15 photographic detail.

 

gammazita_catania

1. The library ‘s outdoor ARCI Gammazita , Piazza Federico II of Sveviia . The guys who run it are also promoters of Castle released , the project aimed at upgrading the spaces of Castello Ursino.

 

san_berillo_catania

2. San Berillo and its graffiti.

 

piscaria_catania

3.Alla Piscaria di Catania  where you go just to buy the fish , but also to meet, chat and watch the world go by..

 

nievski_catania

4. Sala interna di Nievski, one of the oldest places in the center of Catania , located on the Alessi Steps.

.

 

Catania_Librincircolo5. LibrincircoloThe traveling library of Catania that leads around the town books , debates and exhibitions .

 

20150919_2102286. GammaZ Officina del riciclo, well displaed house painting of the historic Gammazita ( XII century).

 

raccolta_differenziata_catania7. While people are trying to find a solution about the waste issue, even evaluating  the possibility of a door to door collection, some other people in Catania are organizing a more creative recycling method.

 

pop_up_market_catania

 8. Paintings for sale in the fish market located in the square.

 

street_food_catania9. Roasted peppers behind the Fish Market , a classic street food Catania.

 

20150512_09350010. A bicycle suspended and bags transformed into vessels between graffiti and water pipes in a small street near Piazza Bellini.

 

teatro_coppola_catania11. Teatro Coppola, the oldest theater in Catania was left to rot in the indifference of the upper floors, it was given new life after the occupation of a group of citizens at the end of 2011.

 

ursino_buskers_catania12. Indications and poems clinging to the railings at Ursino buskers .

 

catania_festa_indù13. Catania multiethnic vibe is best shown in Shiva near streets of the old town.

 

Catania_centro_storico14. In Catania we greet you in this way.

palestra_lupo_catania15. Furniture from recycled , photographic exhibitions and clothes swaps in the Gym Wolf , autonomous space where you can take courses in yoga and tai chi at symbolic prices .

 

(pictures by Simona Camporesi.)

Ten things to do in Catania unusual

18 Nov

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Things to do in Catania

In a previous article we told what for us is the perfect weekend in Catania: the places you absolutely must see and experience essential for an unforgettable weekend in the magnificence of the town of Etna.

But if you’re among the many who left a piece of their  heart in Catania and decide to go back, or just love the less traditional destinations, this is the article for you.

Here are ten things to do in Catania, but not too unusual, selected for you by B & B Globetrotter Catania, that will make you love the town of Etna even more.

Impossible? Seeing is believing!

 

1. A sip of wine at the riverside underground …

grotta_agora_amenano

Have you ever thought of sipping a glass of wine on the banks of a river … underground?

The Amenano is the underground river of Catania, sentenced to be confined underground by the devastating earthquake that devastated the city in 1693 and re-emerging on the surface only in Piazza Duomo, feeds water to the beautiful Fountain linzolu dell’Amenano. Yet habit is to see it in its “natural” the true experience. Especially if the whole is accompanied by a good glass of Sicilian wine.

For a drink at the wine bar on the edge dell’Amenano introduce the Hostel Agora Piazza Curro 6, a few steps from Piazza del Duomo. The Agora is a meeting place especially on Monday night, Tuesday night drinks are half price.

2. An experience goose bumps at the Museum of the US landing

cose_da_fare_catania_museo_dello_sbarco

Diving in Italy in 1943 is an experience of great emotional impact, especially when the reconstructions are detailed and realistic as to this well-kept museum, considered by all a real gem (just read the TripAdvisor reviews). Including an extensive collection of uniforms and war relics, the spearhead is undoubtedly a shelter within which to experiment – or revive – the terrible experience of a bombing during the Second World War.

The Museum is located in the former industrial area of Catania, Viale  Africa, near the Central Station. Until the end of May the museum will be open from Tuesday to Sunday from 09.00 to 16.45 (last entry at 15.45, admission € 4.)

3. Among the narrow streets of the red light district: San Berillo

san_berillo_itinerario_insolito_catania

Among the things to do in Catania could not miss a visit to San Berillo.

The fame of San Beryl goes beyond the boundaries of the town of Etna, since the time when it became the biggest red light district of the Mediterranean basin, and transsexual prostitutes calling from all over the world. In the 50s, a large real estate speculation and the approval of the Merlin law drastically changed the character of the neighborhood, which was largely destroyed and emptied of almost all activities, including the oldest known to man. Now San Beryl returned to recover, thanks to the Senegalese community, but almost no shops, bars and makes it a place suspended in time, whose decadent spreads among the empty chairs in front of the dilapidated houses (a sign that someone in there, he is working), in the tiny lanes swollen graffiti and spicy smells, in eerie silence from which it is caught going there for a walk one morning whatsoever.

San Beryl, however, is not just prostitution but also original and creative initiatives, as OpificioZeronove, the Ciclofficina with bar where every piece of furniture is the son of a bicycle, and the Museum Reba, the modern art gallery opened in 2009 to ‘ inside of a project never completed redevelopment of the historic district of Catania.

4. A bit ‘of shopping in a Arabic: the Fera’ o Luni

fera_o_luni_Catania_insolita

If you want to see the “real” Catania, take a trip in one of its markets. To fish, to Piscaria, it is part of every tourist route but there is another less known market that is without a doubt worth an hour of your time lafera ‘o Luni, the market in Piazza Carlo Alberto. Despite the name (luni means “Monday”) square and nearby streets come alive every day, except Sunday, turning into a confusing and varied gathering of stalls Arabic style, where you can find everything from clothes to CD, from products fruit and vegetables to shoes. What awaits you is a sensory bath between smells inviting, the cries of vendors and the colors of the multi-ethnic clientele that will not easily forget.

5. A terrace at the heart of baroque Catania: the Badia di Sant’Agata

Catania_Badia_S.Agata

On 25 May, after years of restoration, it has finally been re-opened to the public the terraces and the dome of the Badia di Sant’Agata, one of the finest jewels of the late-baroque Catania, Palermo by a priest-architect Giambattista Vaccarini. Rediscover one of the most beautiful churches in the city and admire the Etna Catania from a privileged point of view.

The guided tours are held from Thursday to Sunday, from 9 to 12 (3 euro), while Friday and Saturday you can visit the terraces from 19 to 22 within the path Baroque (7 euro and visit to Terme yarrow, 9 euro with Diocesan Museum, 12 € for all three monuments).

6. A chat with the Palace Biscari family

cose_da_fare_catania_palazzo_biscari

Built after the catastrophic earthquake of 1693 on some surviving bastions, Biscari Palace is one of the oldest buildings in the city and one of the most prestigious representatives of the Sicilian Baroque. Between “apartments princess”, ballrooms rococo and marble floors of the Roman era, Palazzo Biscari was born to leave open-mouthed, as well as scholarly and ironic narrative that traces the history of the current owner of the building and his ancestors condendola of rich anecdotes and curiosities. Among the most famous guests that boasts Palazzo Biscari spicca Goethe, who admired the beauty during the famous trip to Sicily, and more recently the British band Coldplay, who in 2008 filmed here the video of the song Violet Hill.

Visits are by appointment, for information visit the website.

7.  A vintage travel along the slopes of Etna: the Circumetnea

circumetnea_catania_cose_da_fare

A different way to see Mount Etna and take a step back in time on a narrow-gauge train (the only one still operating in Sicily) is relying on the rails of the historic train station on the railway line from the center of Catania up to Riposto (3 hours), visiting many countries Etnea, including Paterno, Adrano and Bronte.

The journey is slow and noisy but of great charm. It slips into a chameleon-like landscape that goes from desert areas of lunar atmosphere at times lush plant pistachio, lemon and tangerine. If you can make a stop aRandazzo, the country “black” famous for the buildings built in lava stone, then take the next train to Riposto, where you can return to Catania with the faster (and less glamorous) train Trenitalia.

It starts from the Catania Borgo station (reachable from the railway station with the underground) in Via Caronda 352.

8. Children again: the Antica Bottega del puppeteer Brothers Naples

bottega_puparo_catania

Hard to turn the center of Catania without seeing hang from some store a “baby”. Evolution of traditional puppets  eighteenth century, the “puppets” Catania are a credit of the ancient town of Etna which has its roots in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, flourished when the Puppet Theatre, a puppet theater dedicated almost completely a knightly narratives largely derived from novels and poems of the Carolingian cycle.

Antica Bottega del puppeteer Brothers Naples, managed by a family of puppeteers Catania, is located in Via Reitano 55 (Castello Ursino-registry office) and can be visited every day by reservation (sito web).

9. A Crack in Time: the Roman amphitheater in 3D

anfiteatro_3d_ catania

Step back in time to the third or fourth century AD to admire a 360 ° the majesty of the Roman Amphitheatre in Piazza Stesicoro. Here is the ambitious project carried out last July from Catania in Italy Living Lab, the experimental laboratory for the development and communication of cultural heritage that has reconstructed in 3D interior and missing parts of the structure thanks to a team of archaeologists, geophysicists, architects, and surveyors.

The Living Lab is located in Via Manzoni 91 / A and is open Monday to Friday from 9.30 to 12.30 and from 17.00 to 19.00.

10. Dining with tradition: in Putia do Calabrisi

a_putia_do_calabrisi_catania

We close our list of ten things to do in Catania unusual (but not too) with a place that’s close to our heart.

It looks like a museum, but it is “only” a tavern. The Italian term, however, do they make it, because the putia is much more it is tradition, quality, you can taste the best cuisine of Catania rates immersed in a friendly and quaint. Until the ’50s and’ 60s Catania teeming with places like this, but then began to disappear and laPutia Do Calabrisi is one of the few survivors. The management is familiar, the atmosphere authentic, hearty meals and flavors. With less than 10 euro you’ll get up from the table fully satisfied, accompanied by the pleasant sensation of being in a unique place, of those who make history of a country.

A smart guide to Catania as a gay-friendly destination: the scene of a sparkling LGBT community

27 Oct

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Once in Catania you won’t need to open grindr to figure out that you’re in one of the most gay-friendly cities in Sicily and quite a popular destination for the LGBT community. Its vicinity to Taormina, a well known gay destination since the XIX century whose prestigious guests included names as Truman Capone and Oscar Wilde, its baroque soul which expresses vivacity in every form of arts in a place that once was the melting pot of many different cultures, but also its well-known strapping nightlife and  yet its undiscussed natural wonders that surround the city make Catania a privileged gay destination.

catania_gayfriendly

For gay, lesbians and transsexuals who choose Catania as a stop for their holidays, the city under the volcano won’t disappoint you at all. Indeed, Catania offers a great variety of LGBT venues that attract every weekend, but not exclusively, hundreds of people from the whole island.

Here a list of the “must go” gay venues and places in Catania:

Catania’s Gay Nightlife:  where your wild dreams come true

The historical gay hangout in Catania city center is Via Alessi, around Nievki: a bar and an alternative restaurant which has been welcoming to LGBT people since the ‘70s.

Nievsky_catania_scalinata_alessi

Il Nievsky e la scalinata Alessi.

Another one of Catania’s gay institution is Pegaso’s, that organizes gay events in Catania every Saturday and Sunday nights since 1994, which nowadays is in a brand-new location with two dance floors, bar, VIP lounge with a northern European appearance and taste: Industrie in Via Acquicella Porto. During the summer all their events move to the beach, at Discus Beach, in Viale Kennedy, where you can enjoy dance music but also a huge relaxing area that includes a swimming pool and  two Jacuzzis along the seashore.

Friday nights, organized by CG Management, offers new venues that change according to the taste of its public through winter for a feverish night out. Dance, House and revivals music plus a fabulous Drag Queens and Go-Go Boys show will entertain you  till dawn.  During summertime Friday gay nights move to the beach at the beautiful location of Le Capannine, in Viale Kennedy, where strobe lights from the two dance floors on the seafront mix up with the starry sky of La Playa.

catania_locali_gay_le_capannine

Le Capannine in versione diurna.

Body, Eros and Relax: pleasure and transgression in Catania

For those who are looking for a relaxing time, Catania offers three gay-only saunas: Terme d’Achille, in Via Tezzano, an elegant and cozy, with Finnish sauna, hamam and a spa, which is very popular especially on Sunday as a lavish buffet is served; close-by you can find South Factory Club (SFC) in Via Fischietti, its interior is all generous, larges spaces, a huge SPA, an American bar and several private cabins. On Friday nights the location turns into a cruising bar; in the same neighborhood it’s located in the oldest gay sauna in Catania, Myknos (Via Platamone) in an old sophisticated XIX villa.

For even more transgressive nights in Catania, you can blow through  to the biggest cruising bar in southern Italy, Codice Rosso (Via Conte Ruggero), where with some drinks and a candlelit atmosphere you can have an hot and passionate night.

terme_di_achille_catania_gay

Gay beaches in Catania and surrounding

But Sicily is above all beaches and in our smart gay guide to Catania we won’t forget to mention some of the secluded beaches popular within the LGBT community. Not far from the city, at the Oasi del Simeto, on Simeto’s southern bank there’s a clothing – optional golden sand beach still wild and left unknown to mass tourism. Near Taormina you can enjoy the sun and meet new people on the beach Fondaco Parrino; Another place worth  mentioning is Marianelli, in the nature reserve of Vendicari, a secluded beach, wild and unspoilt, sandwiched between almond, lemon trees and sand dunes enriched by a unique flora.

fondaco_parrino_catania_gay

Fondaco Parrino.

Not just places: activism and gay pride

Catania also has a strong presence of organizations that stand for the rights of the LGBT community. Besides the presence of the Provincial Committee of Arcigay Catania which often organizes events and activities at its headquarters in Via S. Elena, there are less well-known associations with a rich program of meetings and activities, among these  Queer as UNICT, a students’ organization  whose aim is to educate the local community on gender differences and to counter stereotypes.

For over twenty years between late June and early July, the city is flooded by the colors of the rainbow flag with a series of initiatives crowning in the traditional Catania Gay Pride Parade.

catania_gay_pride

The B&B Globetrotter Catania is close to the LGBT community and the staff will be delighted to provide all the information to make your stay suitable for all your needs.

Contact us