Catania is a dynamic city
rich in culture and with a tasty culinary tradition
At the foot of Etna, Catania owes its charm to the multitude of civilisations that have succeeded each other. Greeks, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Aragons and the Spanish have all left traces of their passage with monuments and traditions that make Catania a city with a thousand fascinating faces.
Being the crossroads of cultures has given Catania an interesting gastronomic tradition. The cuisine of Catania prefers dishes with a simple raw material, fruit of the earth or the sea, enriched by preparations and methods that pay homage to the many cultures that have passed through this area.
Looking out over the prolific Ionian Sea, fish has become one of the fundamental dishes in this gastronomic tradition, which is also rich in meat-based recipes such as falsomagro [meat roll] or, even, roast pork sausages and horsemeat. Some of the most characteristic dishes are the first courses such as pasta alla Norma, pasta with sepia and pasta with “mascolini” (anchovies).
The real jewel in the crown of Catania’s gastronomic tradition are its sweets. For variety, originality and flavour, Catania is one of the Sicilian cities with the most interesting sweet tradition of the island. The almond pastes, marzipan, nougat and cottage cheese based sweets such as cannoli [pastry with sweet filling], panzerotti [large triangular ravioli] and, again, the crushed-ice drinks and homemade ice-cream are renowned worldwide. In recent years, the wine, particularly the Etna DOC, has become a real reference point for lovers of good drinking.
The Cathedral of Saint Agatha is dedicated to the virgin and martyr Saint Agatha, the patron saint of Catania. It stands on the ruins of the Roman baths of Achilles and in the place where the Saint was martyred and whose remains are preserved in the cathedral. Located in the heart of the city’s old town, it stands in Piazza Duomo, one of the most important examples of the baroque style. The tomb of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, one of the most prestigious citizens of Catania and one of the most famous opera composers of the 1800s, is to be found inside the Cathedral.
here are two historical markets in Catania: A Piscaria, the fish market in Piazza Pietro Alonzo and celebration of the gifts of the sea with its lava flagstones which has existed since the beginning of the 1800s; and A Fera o Luni, or the Monday Fair, which owes its name to the ancient opening hours on the first day of the week only, different to now when it is open all week. This market begins in Piazza Carlo Alberto and sells all sorts of products, not just food. Two markets where you can immerse yourself in the flavours, smells, colours and voices of the traders and their products and where you can discover the most authentic Catania.