in the middle
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07:15 CTA » 12:25 LCY
Nestled on Sicily's coastline in the shadow of the imposing Mount Etna, Catania is in many ways defined by this feisty volcano. Much of the city was affected by the lava that flowed down its slopes in the devastating eruption of 1669 and the presence of this magnificent peak now serves as a big draw for tourists.
Catania also boasts baroque churches and historical monuments plus a thriving commercial centre and a large university. During your stay you will have plenty of attractions to choose from. Why not extend your trip by combining your Catania flight with trips to other Italian cities, such as Rome and Venice?
Sicily has a much longer warm season than northern and central Italy. Therefore, by booking trips in the early spring and late autumn, you can benefit from cheaper prices and, unless you are very unlucky, you will also get to enjoy pleasant weather conditions.
It takes just over three hours on a direct flight from the UK to reach Catania's Fontanarossa Airport. Also known as the Vincenzo Bellini Airport, this hub is situated seven kilometres south-west of the city centre. Regular bus services, shuttle buses and taxis are all available to transport you into town. Alternatively, you could opt to hire a car. If you do decide to drive, be aware that there are some complicated one-way systems in the city and the centre has been pedestrianised.
Buses are available to help you get around Catania itself, as well as to nearby destinations such as Via Etnea. During the summer, you can catch a bus to the local beaches too.
No trip to Catania is complete without seeing the city's most distinctive monument, the Fontana dell'Elefante, or Fountain of the Elephant. This amusing statue depicts a smiling elephant with an Egyptian obelisk upon its back. Known locally as Liotru, the stone creature is Catania's symbol. Facing the statue is St Agata's Cathedral. On a hot day, stepping into the cool shade offered by this beautiful marble building can be a real relief.
You might also fancy booking an excursion to Mount Etna. However, be aware that tours are dependent on the volcanic activity at the time and people are no longer allowed to climb to the crater.