Catania

The oasis Nebrodi

The territory inside the province of Catania is characterized by a unique scenic beauty. It is  especially recommended a tour of nature in the oasis Nebrodi - a part of the Apennine mountains  that run along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This park is particularly impressive thanks to the varied landscape. The Arabs consider the area Nebrodi as own island of Sicily. When you visit this lovely decorated area you can discover  lovely lakes that cover the landscape and reflect the environment, forests, lush green plateaus and beautiful creeks. Inside this oasis the original Sicily seems to be preserved, with beech trees that thrive in excellence. It is idyllic the image of the silent horses that cheer their thirst in the waters of Biviere. Here we also find turtles and golden eagles. After all you can find here beautiful nature, in a quiet area, with water, hills, mountains and valleys, blend with the charming villages, including Bronte, Maniace, Randazzo and Maletto.

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The Valley of Simeto

In the southern part of Catania has set another important nature reserve - the oasis of Simeto. The Simeto river flows here in the barren rocks and passes through the range of Etna. Along the banks of Simeto you can take part to wonderful walks and admire the ravines that have been excavated from the river into the lava. In the Valley of Simeto you can find different villages: Adrano, Biancavilla, Paternò, Motta S. Anastasia and S. Maria di Licodia. In Paternò, you can visit the castle, which stands on a hill. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view. The city is also known for the cultivation of citrus. At the foot of Mount Etna is located Motta S. Anastasia, the medieval town is extended around the walls of the castle and is known as a place of burial, which probably belong to a Greek necropolis, dating back to the 5th century B.C.  In Villa Bianca, we find the magnificent church of Santa Maria di Licodia, as well as the ruins of an aqueduct dating to Roman Period. Adrano is known for its glorious past. Here there are the archaeological sites and ruins of ancient settlements.

 

Etna

The mount Etna, seen from afar seems like a giant, an isolated place, whose background is a deep blue sky. The volcano is presented in varied forms. The Mount Etna is covered with pine forests, which penetrate from craters of lava and black smoke. At the foot of Mount Etna, we also find orchards, citrus crops, majestic oak and chestnut trees, flowering vines and birches. The nature reserve of  Etna extends from the top of the mountain to the surrounding villages, and then up to the countries inhabited. In the area that before was covered by lava flows, now there are residential areas and tourist destinations.

Among the most beautiful locations we will find: Belpasso whose streets are arranged in a checkerboard and are full of medieval buildings, some of which were forged by lava; Pedara, a popular tourist destination, which has an interesting church; Nicolosi - a city known thanks to their close associations with the volcano as "Gate of Etna" and houses the Museum of Volcanology.

 

 

Sun and Sea

The city of  Catania is very fascinating thanks to the unique location. The city is located between Etna and the Ionian Sea. The coast of Catania is characterized by sandy beaches and volcanic rocks. The Cyclops Riviera and the Lemon Riviera are also enchanting, because they are dominated by dark lava beaches (such as the beach of Santa Tecla and Santa Maria La Scala). The stretch of the beach is characterized by the deep blue sea, but also by the rocky section of "Cliff". In this manner it is called the coast, that extend from Europa Square Acicastello, where the Cyclops Riviera starts. Acicastello is a magic castle, built in lava stone and stands on a cliff that descends to the sea. Further in north there is Acitrezza, a small fishing village. Here there are the "legendary Faraglioni of the Cyclops".

 

 

The cooking of Catania

The traditional cooking of Catania is one of the best in Sicily. Thanks to the proximity of the sea, the kitchen is especially marked by fish. Typical dishes include the "pasta alla Norma" - a dish of pasta with eggplants, tomatoes, basil and cheese - and pasta with squid. Inside of farmhouses (a sort of rural or farm house) you will taste excellent beef and pork, as well as fresh vegetables and home-made cheese. Moreover excellent arancini with rice are unequalled.

There are typical desserts such as rolls of cream cheese (cannoli),  S. Agata “Nougat” (with candy sugar, honey, walnuts or almonds) and marzipan. It is also very much appreciated the quality of the wine that comes from the region of Etna.

Distances from Catania

 

Caltanissetta   110 Km

Agrigento       160 Km

Enna             87 Km

Messina          96 Km

Palermo         212 Km

Ragusa          105 Km

Syrakus          67 Km

Trapani         314 Km

ETNA

Europe's most powerful volcano in Sicily

It is located in enchanting Sicily, near the strait of Messina: the highest and still active volcano in Europe, Etna is one of the highest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2013. Etna is "an outstanding example of geological processes and volcanic landscapes" that has existed since ancient times and is active. In fact, 2700 years of activity of Etna are documented and this is a world record for UNESCO. The precise motivation of the UNESCO refers to the craters, the ashes, the lava flows and lava flows and the depression of Valle del Bove, which together make Etna an important holiday destination and an important center for international research, with a long history of influence volcanology, geology and other disciplines of earth science. Furthermore, its reputation, its scientific relevance, its cultural and pedagogical values ​​are considered world heritage, and so UNESCO considered it important to protect this area and include it in the World Heritage List. Centuries of eruptions have transformed the surrounding landscape, turning Sicily's typical flora and fauna into a lunar-like area, the Etna Nature Reserve, founded in 1987. The park and the volcano can be visited along the numerous paths that are open to all visitors. The volcano also features several craters at different elevations, created by occasional eruptions. These are accessible to visitors and researchers, who can experience impressive guided tours in the company of specialists. Apart from the researchers who have been analyzing and observing Etna for centuries, the volcano is also a fascinating holiday destination for tourists and a reason enough to visit Sicily and the beautiful province of Catania. The connection between Catania and Mount Etna is very strong: the volcano dominates the entire area and is characteristic for the panorama and the landscape. A wide and varied landscape that goes from the coast of the Ionian Sea to the vast fields of citrus trees, from the chestnut and oak forests to the moon-like areas around Mount Etna. A view from Etna is not only enough to admire the magic of Sicily, but to enjoy the seascape as far as Malta. At night, the sight of Etna is particularly impressive: the lava flow that runs along the slopes and the lava rays that leap out of the crater illuminate the dark night sky and offer a unique natural spectacle. Symbol of Sicily, Mount Etna is an important destination for those who visit the island, and not only in summer: in winter, when the snow covers the entire area, Mount Etna becomes a popular ski resort with modern facilities. What you should not miss Within the nature reserve of Etna Park you should not miss the high valley Valle die Bove, a huge basin on the eastern slope of the volcano. The slopes are over 1000 m high and are characterized by deep canyons and the Grotta del Gelo, an imposing cave of volcanic origin, in which a glacier has formed. Also impressive is the Gole di Alcantara gorge, which over the centuries has been formed by the cold water of the river of the same name and can be walked along in the ice-cold water. Apart from the enchanting city of Catania, which lies at the foot of Mount Etna, many are the interesting places to visit and discover within a radius of 100km: from picturesque Taormina to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites of Piazza Armerina, Val di Noto and Syracuse and Pantalica.

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