This weekend, our wonderful friends Maddie and Justin showed us around Catania. Catania, the most densely populated metro of Sicily, is also known as “the black city,” as it’s buildings have been dyed black as a result of ash and soot from volcano Mt. Etna over the centuries.
Naturally, I was so excited I neglected to bring my camera. So, iPhone photos will have to do for this trip.
Our first stop was at the archaeological area of the Theater and Odeon in Catania.
The theater was built in the first century A.D. (that’s somewhere between years 1 to 100 A.D. in case you were wondering) and seated approximately 1,500 of Sicily’s most elite.
It was actually built over at one time (with buildings) and was “discovered” in the eighteenth century. Subsequently, the buildings that covered the theater were removed in the twentieth century.
The Odeon was off to the side a bit, and was used for poetry, music, and rehearsals for the Theater. It was also once covered by houses that were later demolished.
Many apartment buildings and a church actually surround the Theatre.
It was quite a site to behold… and my first of many theaters!!
After exploring the Theater and Odeon, we headed to an adorable little cafe to grab a snack since we still had five hours or so before dinner.
Justin and Maddie took us to an amazing little pastry shop, Savia, in which we purchased sweet pastries (they also had savory ones).
After enjoying our pre-dinner snack, we headed back to their car, where we were greeted by the parking police. While you may have heard traffic here is crazy (if you haven’t heard, now you have – there are basically no rules), parking is strict. Luckily, Justin was able to talk to the attendant and she let us pay the meter, so no ticket was had!
p.s. McDonalds delivers here.
Next, Justin drove us to Aci Trezza to see the Cyclopean Isles. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, these are the stones thrown at Odysseus in The Odyssey by the Cyclops.
Here, we stopped for a drink (which is served with a small board of food) and then drove to back to Catania for dinner. It was dark by this point, so I didn’t take too many photos. We plan to go back another day, so I will update this post then!
Once we got back to Catania, we explored the main square, Piazza del Duomo, and the city center. Here are two photos I managed to take: one of the old city (in which in new city is built on top of, as is the way here), and me on the smallest set of stairs E V E R. Okay, so I don’t really know if they were the smallest set of steps ever, but I had to get a photo just because.
After seeing the city at night, we had dinner at Alvicolo Pizza and Vino – where I had both pizza AND wine. Here is a photo of our pizza, and a snippet of the menu, in which you see the word “cavallo” in #39…
…meaning “horse”. We didn’t try that one yet, but maybe one day!