Reed Travel Features
CATANIA -- This city, the second largest in Sicily, is a logical
central point for visitors who want to take in the attractions
Catania, which has its own airport, is close enough to Siracusa,
Taormina, Acireale and Caltagirone that clients could visit all of
them in just a few days.
Siracusa, located on Sicily's east coast, straddles the mainland
and adjoining Ortigia island, which juts out into the Ionian
The smaller island is accessible from the rest of the city via
the Ponte Nuovo.
In addition to being a picturesque beach resort, the area is
known for its impressive archeological ruins.
The Greek theater, which dates from the third century B.C., and
the Roman amphitheater, from the third century, are unusual for
their vast size and state of partial preservation.
Those looking for a greater understanding of the digs can visit
the Museo Archeologico Regionale, on the mainland.
Noteworthy churches include the Cathedral, with its seventh
century dome and 18th century facade, and the much older Church of
San Martino, which combines sixth century and 14th century
Going even further back in time is the Temple of Apollo, which
combines elements from the sixth century B.C. with more recent
construction by Arab and Norman conquerors.
Taormina is a heavily visited resort perched on a plateau of
Monte Tauro overlooking the sea. The drive to Taormina is a winding
affair with scores of hairpin turns that are particularly
eye-popping for motorcoach passengers.
Clients who like to visit churches will find an eclectic mix of
buildings from the tiny Church of San Pancazio, constructed partly
of ancient ruins, to the imposing Cathedral at the Piazza del
One of the city's most notable sights is the Greek Theater,
which dates to the second century B.C.
Well preserved, the theater also is known for its location on a
terrace that hangs over the sea far below.
On a sunny day -- and that is the norm in Sicily year-round --
the view alone is worth the journey.
Visitors who prefer shopping will find what they are looking for
here, whether it be leather shoes, ceramics or trinkets.
Acireale is a less well-known destination that boasts a Baroque
central square, the Piazza del Duomo, as well as a natural spa at
Caltagirone, also located nearby, is ceramics heaven.
The high point of the city is a monumental staircase that climbs
from street level to Santa Maria del Monte.
Each stair is adorned with ceramic tiles, and shops selling
ceramic wares are stationed at intervals on the way up.
For details, about Sicily and Catania, contact the Italian
Government Tourist Office at (212) 245-4822.