Catania, Sicily

Introduction to Catania

Catania boasts dramatic cityscapes with beautifully ornate baroque buildings that pan across the Sicilian coast. Over the years it has survived earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, its unconquerable spirit reflected in the many extravagant noble Baroque buildings.

Catania boasts dramatic cityscapes with beautifully ornate baroque buildings that pan across the Sicilian coast. Though it has been destroyed by many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions from nearby Mount Etna over the years, the city refuses to die and has been rebuilt several times. Its unconquerable spirit is reflected by the many extravagant noble Baroque buildings – lucky survivors of the dramatic national disasters that have struck Catania.

The city is energetic and equally cultural; you can find warm and friendly restaurants and cafes in the main square with the incredible Mount Etna lurking in the distance. For those who enjoy architecture, be sure to visit the Cathedral and Castello Ursino, which was built from 1239 to 1250 to defend the capital and stress the importance of royal and monumental streets of great overall harmony. The many food and fish markets – described by some as the best in the world – are the perfect place to enjoy a true taste of Sicily.

You can’t take a trip to Catania without exploring Mount Etna and the surrounding area. From the volcanic mountain you will be able to enjoy incredible views of Sicily, examine amazing solidified rivers of lava and visit the mini shops that are located on the side of the mountain.

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Tours in Catania

CATANIA & DEL GELSO VILA (TOUR F)

  • Embark on a panoramic drive of Catania
  • Discover the Del Gelso farmhouse - home to 65 hectares of cultivated citrus and olive trees
  • Savour a wine tasting, accompanied by a traditional local snack
Activity Tour
Price£30.00-£40.00
DurationApproximately 3.5 Hours
LimitationLimited to 100 participants
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included
Free time includedFree time included

Admire the highlights of Catania during a panoramic drive, before discovering the charming Del Gelso Farmhouse.

Departing the quayside, you will traverse the central via Etnea. En route, pass sumptuous palaces and the Piazza Stesicoro, where you can discover the monument dedicated to Vincenzo Bellini. You will also see ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre, whose dimensions are only a little smaller than Rome’s Coliseum.

Continuing, travel towards the foot of Mount Etna and Villa Del Gelso, a splendid ‘Mulberry Farmhouse’. Discover the citrus orchards and some of the rooms of the farmhouse and its bodegas - a symbol of the family’s ancient wine tradition. You can then enjoy the opportunity to taste a red and a white wine accompanied by a local snack – a refreshing end to your tour. 

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MED

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a moderate amount of walking through the centre of Catania. There will also be steps to negotiate. Please note that the order of the sites visited may be reversed. 

 

 

 

 


Tour 1 - Palazzo-Biscari

CATANIA & SICILIAN NOBLE MANSION (TOUR I)

  • Take in the Highlights of Catania
  • Admire the architecture with a guided walk through the City
  • Enjoy a unique and rare visit to Palazzo Biscari, where the owner will take you through his noble mansion
Price£30.00 - £40.00
DurationApproximately 4 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Discover this splendid Baroque city, re-built after the earthquake of 1693, completed with a rare visit to admire the beauty of a real Noble Sicilian Mansion.

Leaving the quayside by coach, you will begin with a short panoramic drive through the city of Catania, passing by the Fontana di  Proserpina, Corso Italia, Piazza Verga, via Etnea, Villa Bellini , Piazza Stesicoro with its Vincenzo Bellini Monument and the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre.

Next, you embark on a guided walking tour through the main area of the city: admiring en route the Baroque Cathedral with St. Agatha's Chapel, the Fontana dell'Elefante, built using  ancient decorative elements such as the lavic elephant and the obelisk. Your walking tour concludes with a visit to the characteristic and colourful fish market.

Enjoy some time at leisure to explore further before continuing to Palazzo Biscari, where the owner will take you on a unique and rare visit of his noble mansion. Palazzo Biscari is unique in terms of its structure, outlay and decoration, Savour this wonderful home as you admire the beauty of a real Noble Sicilian Mansion. 

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2015 CANARIES & MED CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking through the centre of Catania. There will also be steps to negotiate inside the Cathedral. Please note that the order of the sites visited may vary. Depending upon timings it may not be possible to view the inside of the fish market.


Mount Etna

MOUNT ETNA (TOUR B)

  • Expand your knowledge on the wonderful history of Etna as you discover the impressive volcano up close!
  • Discover the amazing lava fields and admire stunning landscape views
Activity Tour
Price£20.00 - £30.00
DurationApproximately 4.5 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

On this tour, marvel at the impressive Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, which covers an area of 1,190 square kilometres (460 square miles!)

Your tour begins with a journey along the new road, which was built following the eruption that took place in 1983, towards Nicolosi. Proceed across the vineyards and valleys that were completely covered by the lava flow. Travelling along the scenic road that winds around the slopes of the mountain, you arrive at the Mount Etna-Crateri Silvestri, at approximately 1,950 metres (6,400 feet) above sea level, making it nearly three times the height of Mount Vesuvius.

From this point on there are endless small volcanic cones, awe-inspiring rows of hardened lava, tiny villages, orchards, vineyards and tall pine groves, all surviving from the lush soil on which they sit. Here you can enjoy a panoramic view over the Gulf of Catania, and some time at leisure, before your return journey to Catania and your awaiting ship.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MEDITERRANEAN CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is dependent upon good weather conditions. Walking around the craters will be over rocky terrain, therefore unfortunately this tour is not suitable for wheelchair users. There will be free time, where walking is at the discretion of the individual. Guests are advised to wear comfortable shoes and to bring a jacket, as it may be cool due to the altitude. Please also be advised that the visit to Etna is subject to authorisation given by the local authorities - as a result the itinerary may change at the last minute. 


Tours in Catania

PRINCESS BORGHESE’S GARDENS (TOUR G)

  • Discover Princess Borghese beautiful garden
  • Stunning plants and sweet smelling flowers will ensure your senses are awakened as you discover the delights of Mediterranean species
Gardening Tour
Price£32.00 - £42.00
DurationApproximately 3.5 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

Capture the romance of Sicily with a visit to the Princess Borghese Gardens.

After a short panoramic tour of Catania you will travel to the south and enter the state road to Lentini, which was founded in 729 B.C. by the Greeks. Continuing through the city, you reach the Contrada Biviere. According to legend, when Heracles came to these parts intending to present the skin of the Nemean lion to Ceres, he fell in love with the area and created a lake which would bear his name; this was subsequently changed to Biviere (to mean ‘drinking trough’) during the Arab occupation.

Discover these lovely gardens that now surround the princess’s house and were initiated in 1967 at the behest of the Borghese princess. They comprise a broad variety of Mediterranean species including yuccas, palms, flowering trees (Jacaranda, originally from Brazil, and Judas trees), together with more exotic plants such as Xanthorrea arborea and Encefaloartus horridus, the silvery blue Prickly cycad which was thought to exist only in fossil form before it was discovered growing in Tanzania.

Princess Borghese will welcome you and take you around her beautiful garden illustrating the different plants. Savour this wonderful setting, which creates an unusual sense of serenity and quietness.

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2015 CANARIES & MED CRUISES 

Is this tour right for you?

TOUR NOTES: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which is over uneven terrain, with steps to negotiate. Guests are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes as the visit will be made on foot. What flora may be seen is subject to seasonal change and can not be guaranteed. 


Syracuse

SYRACUSE (TOUR D)

  • Step back in time with a visit to the historic city of Syracuse
  • Marvel at the well preserved archaeological remains
  • Discover Ortigia, a charming islet boasting narrow streets with impressive Baroque buildings 
Activity Tour
Price£35.00-£45.00
DurationApproximately 5 Hours
LimitationLimited Availability
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

This tour allows you to discover one of the few cities in the world to boast have two UNESCO World Heritage sites – Syracuse.

Renowned for its Greek remains and Baroque masterpieces, Syracuse was founded by the Greeks in 734 BC and became one of the richest and most powerful cities in the Mediterranean. Arriving in the town, your first visit will be to the Neapolis Archaeological Park, where you can admire remains of Greek Syracuse. During your visit, marvel at Paradise Quarry or ‘Latomia del Paradiso’, an ancient stone quarry; and the Ear of Dionysius, or ‘Orecchio di Dioniso’, named by Caravaggio, which both date from the 8th century.

Next, you continue to the small island of Ortigia, which is the oldest inhabited part of the city connected by a causeway. Here time seems to have stood still, and there is a fine line between myth and reality. Upon arrival, you can admire the Arethusa Spring. Legend has it that the nymph Arethusa fled to Syracuse in a bid to escape the River God Alpheus. The Goddess Artemis transformed her into the spring, but Alpheus found her.

Continuing, enjoy a walk through the narrow, cobbled streets to the Piazza Duomo, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful Baroque piazzas in Sicily. Enjoy an external view of the Cathedral, which was built on the remains of the Temple of Athena (the Doric columns are still visible today).

Following your walking tour, re-board your tour coach for the return drive to Catania and your awaiting ship.

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MED CRUISES 

Is this tour right for you?

 IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves a total of approximately two hours of walking, some of which will be over uneven and cobbled ground, and there are steps to negotiate to enter the archaeological site. Unfortunately it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. 


Taormina, Sicily

TAORMINA (TOUR A)

  • Discover one of the most popular Mediterranean sun-spots, which has managed to retain its medieval character
  • Visit the Greek Theatre, one of the most notable ruins in Sicily due to its astonishing preservation
  • Marvel at impressive views of Mount Etna and the sea beyond
Activity Tour
Price£35.00-£45.00
DurationApproximately 4.5 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Explore the beautiful and picturesque town of Taormina, which enjoys a magnificent position on a terrace overlooking the Ionian Sea on the eastern coast of Sicily.

Departing the quayside, you will travel along the highway to Taormina. Upon arrival, enjoy a walk from the coach to the 15th century Corvaja Palace. Its name was derived from the Corvaja family, one of the most ancient and noble families of Taormina, who owned the palace from 1538 to 1945. It has an Arabic style, yet at the same time Norman and Gothic influences, and is an important medieval palace in the town.

Next, you continue to the Greek Theatre, which was built in the 5th century and later expanded by the Romans, who enlarged the stage and added a partial roof (which has since been destroyed). The ancient theatre is one of the most notable ruins in Sicily, due to its astonishing preservation. It is the second largest of its kind in Sicily and is still used today for open-air performances in summer, owing to its spaciousness and acoustics. The view of Mount Etna and the sea beyond is breathtaking.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MEDITERRANEAN CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that Taormina is not accessible to traffic; therefore your tour will be conducted on foot. Some slight inclines may be encountered. There is an approximate 15 to 20 minute walk from the coach park to Corvaja Palace. There are approximately 30 steps and cobbled terrain to negotiate inside the Greek Theatre, which is not wheelchair accessible. For reference, there will be approximately 30 minutes of free time, where walking is at the discretion of the individual. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility.


Taormina, Sicily

TAORMINA ON YOUR OWN (TOUR H)

  • Explore the delights of Taormina at your own pace
  • Enjoy approximately three and a half hours of time to  explore at leisure 
Activity Tour
Price£25.00-£35.00
DurationApproximately 5 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

If you have visited Catania before or simply prefer to do your own thing, this tour is perfect! The picturesque town of Taormina enjoys a magnificent position on a terrace overlooking the Ionian Sea on the eastern coast of Sicily and is simply beautiful. It still retains its medieval character even if it has become one of the most popular sun spots in the Mediterranean.

An approximate one hour and 15 minute journey from the quayside will take you to Taormina. Upon arrival you will be dropped off at the bus terminal, where a short walk will take you to the pedestrian area of Taormina. You will then have approximately three and a half hours of time at leisure in Taormina to fall in love and discover the sights, browse the shops or simply relax in a local café and soak up the atmosphere!

TOUR DESCRIPTION IS CORRECT FOR 2016 CANARIES & MED CRUISES

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour is a transfer only and will not be guided; therefore you are responsible for being at the designated pick-up point at the correct time for the transfer back to Catania. Please also be advised that Taormina is completely pedestrianised - there will be a short walk from the bus stop to the gates of the town.


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