Catania, Sicily If you want a quick resumé of Catania’s character, look no further than the brooding, explosive mountain that looms right over it: Etna. The university city on the east coast, overlooking the Ionian Sea, can be intense, chaotic and beautiful. At its heart is a Unesco-listed old quarter full of towers and squares, relics of a competitive building spree in the 18th century, when Catania was trying to outdo its rival, Palermo. The Piazza del Duomo is the centrepiece; other highlights include the Teatro Massimo Bellini, as lavish a production as any Bellini opera – the man himself was a local lad. And yet the real must-see is nothing historical at all, but the riotous fish market, held every weekday morning. Grab a seat at one of the surrounding restaurants and tuck in to the city’s signature dish, pasta alla norma (with tomatoes and aubergine), named, naturally, after a Bellini opera. The sandy beach south of the city – lined with lidos and discos – quietens down after August, but the sea remains warm into early autumn. Where to stay Ostello degli Elefanti (beds from €22.80) has a great location and a roof terrace. Getting there EasyJet flies… Read full this story
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