We decided to develop this short itinerary that allows you to visit Catania in 3 days, ideal for those who do not have a lot of time available but want to visit Catania and its surroundings seeing as much as possible.
The metropolitan city of Catania is a mandatory destination for those who are about to visit the Eastern part of Sicily: it is rare, in fact, to find a similar richness and variety of landscapes between sea and mountains elsewhere.
Going back to the topic, you must first keep in mind the time of year in which you want to spend these 3 days in Catania, considering that any rains could also force you to review your itinerary last minute and change your plans. What are the places to visit in Catania if you only have 3 days of time?
Surely, the historic center of Catania is the most important part to understand the history of the city, past and contemporary culture, to fully immerse yourself in the colors and architecture of this metropolis founded in 729 BC by the Greeks.
First suggestion is to stay in the city center to have the opportunity to visit Catania on foot for the first two days of this mini tour, with a mandatory stop on Etna on the last day.
It follows the historical, monumental and scenic route that we suggest for this quick tour of Catania.
A self-respecting tour of the historic center of Catania can only start from Piazza Duomo, a large pedestrian area that is somewhat the icon of the city thanks to the presence of a lava stone statue depicting an elephant (which the inhabitants of Catania call “u Liotru“).
You can start your first day in the city right from this large square: look around, you will discover that you are surrounded by beautiful noble and institutional buildings. These include the Town Hall (Palazzo degli Elefanti), the Palazzo dei Chierici, the Cathedral of Sant’Agata (Patroness of the city) and Porta Uzeda.
Take your time to admire this beautiful open space and then head calmly in the direction of the Ursino Castle, built in the 13th by Frederick II of Swabia and once the seat of parliament.
Passing again from Piazza Duomo you can reach the Massimo Bellini Theater, one of the theaters with the best acoustics ever in the world and then head to Via Etnea.
This is the most beautiful and famous street in Catania (it was built in the eighteenth century), recently repaved with Etna lava stone and became a pedestrian area in the stretch from Piazza Duomo to the Quattro Canti.
Worth visiting Via dei Crociferi, parallel to Via Etnea and full of churches and monasteries, a tangible testimony of Baroque architecture in Catania. Walking along it, it is possible to admire the church of San Benedetto, the church of San Francesco Borgia, the Jesuit college and the church of San Giuliano.
Going back through Via dei Crociferi you can end your first day in Catania by visiting the Greek-Roman Archaeological Park and the beautiful Roman Theater it houses.
Visiting the historical markets is the best way to discover the traditions, culture and scents of Catania up close: for this reason we suggest you dedicate your second day in this beautiful city to discover the markets of “Piscaria” and of the “Fera o’Luni“.
In the morning you can reach “A Piscaria” (the fish market, in the Catania dialect) located in Piazza Alonzo di Benedetto, exactly behind Piazza Duomo (the square with the lava stone elephant you visited yesterday).
It is a truly folkloric market where you can find not only fresh fish but also meat, cold cuts, fruit, vegetables and all kinds of aromas.
In fact, it is precisely here that the inhabitants of Catania go to shop every day: you will be struck to see fish still fresh floundering on the workbenches of the fishermen who proudly display the fruit of the previous night’s fishing trip, tuna of considerable sizes to be sliced at the moment and blue fish of all kinds.
The area reserved for fishermen is certainly the most characteristic of the market, where tourists rush to photograph the shoals with the fish still alive and the flagstones constantly wet by the water used to wash the fish.
There is also a part of the market reserved for those who sell fruit and vegetables: here you will certainly notice the smell that comes from the pots in which each merchant cooks sauces, vegetables and soups to take home and still hot on the table.
Finally, there is a third micro-area of Piscaria where you can find, next to each other, stalls of white and red meats and cheeses of all kinds.
The unmistakable background is that of the vendors who loudly advertise the offer of the day or emphasize the authenticity and freshness of their merchandise, making you go back in time with your mind.
This is why you should visit Catania and its historical markets in particular: it is a journey back in time to rediscover traditions, scents and colors that you thought no longer existed.
In the afternoon you can instead reach A Fera o’Luni, which is located in Piazza Carlo Alberto, not far from Villa Bellini: to reach it you have to walk along Via Etnea until the intersection with Via Pacini, then take the latter turning right and follow it for about 200m before reaching the market.
This is the right place for shopping at a good price: in fact, here you can find shoes and clothing suitable for all periods of the year, but also household items and various types of fabrics without spending a lot.
You will find it pleasant to wander around the stalls looking for a good deal to give yourself something you like, and you will be able to take the opportunity to admire two monuments that are located right inside this market: the Church of San Gaetano alle Grotte, in which Christians found refuge during persecutions, and the Basilica of the Madonna del Carmine.
Your second day in Catania comes to an end with the visit to the historical markets, and you do well to go to bed early because your itinerary includes an exciting and demanding excursion for the third day.
The best way to end this intense 3 days in Catania is certainly to make a nice excursion to discover Etna, one of the most important active volcanoes in the world and protagonist of spectacular eruptions during the last years.
At the same time, it will be an opportunity to admire the luxuriant nature of the Etna park up close and the beautiful views it offers.
We suggest choosing one of those organized tours that include departure from Catania in the morning and that allow you to visit the volcanic caves in the company of expert local guides, who can embellish your experience thanks to their anecdotes, as well as the lunar landscapes and the houses lapped by the lava.
At an altitude of 2100m it is possible to reach the ancient craters, while to reach the top of the volcano (2900mt) it is necessary to use the special cable car and finally suitable off-road vehicles. Here it will be possible to admire the huge central crater, the South-East one as well as the lava flows that have shaped the entire scenario over the years.
The surreal silence that envelops the entire area, and the beautiful view of Catania below, will repay your every effort and will give you moments that you will carry with you forever. So are you ready to visit Catania in 3 days? Did you find this short itinerary useful? Let us know, leave us a comment below