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Sicily’s second largest city is an attraction of experiences and impressions for the senses. The sea and Mount Etna, the gigantic volcano, set its limits. It looks like the volcano is the guardian of the city although the city has not stopped reinventing itself after multiple eruptions and earth quakes. Catania, founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BC, is blue and cobalt, and plain: it extends from the mountain as a sheet until reaching the Ionian Sea. It is a mixture of culture, nostalgic and joy. If you are a lover of gastronomy prepared to be delighted with the mixture of local products. Not every thing that glitters in Italy is pasta: discover the local Arancini, (stuffed fried rice balls) a taste explosion. Enjoy the spectacular architecture of its wide streets. Sit in the Piazza del Duomo and open your eyes, real wide, and just enjoy.
The moment to enjoy the Sicilian gastronomy has arrived. And this charming restaurant, located next to the Santa Agata cathedral is a good example of the importance of traditional cuisine. If you are a seafood fan try their mussels with olive oil and capers, and you will not be let down. And of course, how can one visit Catania without ordering pasta? Whatever your choose you will be delighted, for sure. The “pasta a la Norma” is a city classic and it may surprise you with its refreshing touch of fresh basil and curd cheese. Add to that a good local Etna wine, sure to be different than everything you have ever tried. And then to finish off, try a local dessert such as the “cannoli di ricotta” made with crispy pasta and chocolate flakes.
THE ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE
Situated in the heart of Catania in the beautiful and lively Piazza Stesicoro this is one of the largest historic amphitheatres around, only the Coliseum in Rome has more seats. It is interesting to see, despite being protected and safeguarded, as it combines centuries of history with a touch of modernity. From the outside you can only see one of the half circles, the rest stretches out underneath the surrounding buildings, so its grandness can only be sensed and not seen. It was not until 1904, when mayor De Felice commissioned the excavation and restoration of one of the parts of this majestic monument, before it was completely hidden. Here you can easily time travel and feel like a spectator of the old Imperial acts.
THE TERRACE AT THE HOSTAL AGORÁ
It is said that Catania is a party every day. The Sicilians have a happy and open way, and adding to that, Catania is a favourite destination for Erasmus students and young people in general. So with this combination, could you imagine missing its vibrant nightlife? The main night activities happen in the centre, in its vibrant streets where multitudes of bars, pubs and terraces can be found. One terrace that is worth exploring is the bar at Hostal Agorá which brings together both locals as well as visitors. Try one of the local Sicilian specialities, the original ‘vino de Mandorla’ (almond wine) or enjoy a refreshing beer. The night is awaiting you.