The city of Catania is a large urban complex with a lovely historic centre ideal for a cultural and fun holiday. Charming and a bit chaotic this energetic city probably due to the massive presence of student population, it is full of bars, clubs and restaurants, offering many socialisation opportunities, as well as cultural sightseeing.
Often referred to as “the city that rose from the ashes”, Catania owes its current glory to two natural disasters that occurred in the late 1600’s: the devastating eruption of Etna in 1669 covered the city in lava and then the earthquake in 1693 shook the city to the ground. After these two catastrophic events Catania had to be completely rebuilt. For the splendid historic centre all the anti-seismic precautions were taken: straight and wide streets, large squares as a hideout incase of another earthquake, and sturdy and strong buildings. Unfortunately the sea view from the city has been cut off from the growth of all the infrastructures in the 19th and 20th century.
The Unesco protected volcano of Mount Etna – Europe’s largest and most active – has been Catania’s curse and blessing for centuries with its recurring eruptions and fertile soil on its slopes. Yet the locals are very attached to this land and are still willing to live the daily risk of another eruption instead of leaving their beloved Catania.