Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 4 Hours
Meals not included
A Dutch-speaking guide leads this tour (or a guide with a Dutch interpreter). A limited number of Dutch guides and interpreters are available in this port; book early to avoid disappointment. This is not a bilingual tour; please see Catania & Aci Castello for the same tour guided in English. Situated between the Ionian Sea and the slopes of Mount Etna, Catania is Sicily's second city and has always had a close relationship with the volcano. In fact, most of the city's buildings are made from black lava and the entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the historians, Catania was founded in 729 BC by Greek colonists from Chalcis. Since then it has been flooded with lava and shaken by earthquakes, most radically in 1693, when it was razed to the ground. The Catania of today is the result of an 18th-century rebuilding effort.
The Piazza Duomo boasts many fine Baroque buildings -- Palazzo del Municipio (the Town Hall), the former Chiesa Seminary, the cathedral and Porta Uzeda. The latter is the city gate, built in 1696 to connect Via Etnea with the port area. In the middle of town is the Fontana dell'Elefante -- a well-known fountain sculpted in 1736 by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. The cathedral is dedicated to the city's patron saint -- Sant' Agata. On the second pilaster to the right is the Tomb of Vincenzo Bellini.
During your free time, don't miss the fish market and be sure to purchase a delicious granita (at your own expense).
On the way back to Taormina, the coach will pass along the famous Ionian Coast. This coastline, with its citrus groves and a view of the summit of Mount Etna in the distance, is called the Riviera of the Cyclops, after the Homeric myth. According to the famous legend, it was here that jealousy drove the Cyclops (a one-eyed giant), Polyphemus, to kill a young man called Acis. Acis was then transformed by the compassionate gods into the river that still bears his name.
Pass through Aci Castello and stop for photos at the Norman castle, erected in 1076 and built entirely of black lava.
Walking a distance of about 500 yards is required in Catania.