Catania is the second largest city in Sicily and capital of the province of the same name. It is a large busy city with narrow noisy streets and a lot of traffic – just like you’d imagine an Italian city. Traffic lights and signs are considered a recommendation and cars can be parked anywhere, who cares… On the other hand, people are easy going and problems are solved quickly and free of bureaucracy. Due to a parked car the road we wanted to pass through was wide enough for small cars but not for our coach. The scene occurred in front of a busy coffee bar, much to the entertainment of a bunch of local guys seated there. A dozen of them got up from their seats, rolled up their sleeves, lifted up the four-wheeled culprit and set it aside so we could pass. Mille grazie!
The old town centre of Catania has UNESCO World heritage status due to the amount and quality of its baroque architecture. After the devastating earthquake of 1693 the city, just like several others in this part of the island, was rebuilt and redesigned. As can be expected on bus tours, we had far too little time… All we saw was the main square with the elephant monument (photo 1), Catania’s landmark, and the cathedral Sant’Agata with the lovely flower garden by its side (photos 2 and 3). Palazzo del Seminario dei Chierici in photo 4 is the seminary for clerics.
Note to self: Return and explore further.