Curated by Bianca Caccamese (KidsTrip)
I asked my children: what would be an itinerary of Catania to recommend to a friend traveling?
Here are the five places to discover the city with children along a pleasant walk through the streets of the historic center.
Our itinerary starts from what was the Hill of Montevergine, where the Greeks founded the city of Catania and where today stands the Benedictine Monastery. Inside this historic building in the heart of Catania operates the Associazione Officine Culturali, which often offers “tailor-made” guided tours and play-educational workshops aimed at the knowledge and use of a place full of history. For children, one of the most beautiful experiences is to enter the “red room” where the contrast of black colors, lava flows, and red, the extraordinary steel cover, is really exciting!
The walk continues to discover a real fortress, with towers and moats: the Ursino Castle. My sons boast of having the names of the emperor who built it (Federico II of Swabia) and of the architect who designed it (Riccardo Da Lentini). Inside the courtyard, children can go in search of ancient engravings that will surprise them: galleons! The Castle now houses the Civic Museum that deserves a visit, especially the Art Gallery where beautiful paintings are preserved, including important portraits that children will enjoy imitating. Inside there is also a small book-shop where children can play in two equipped tables or read freely.
Arrived in Piazza Duomo the attention is captured by the large lava stone elephant that stands in the middle of the square dominated by an obelisk. On this elephant are told many legends, the most beautiful for children is definitely that of the wizard Eliodoro who went around riding this pachyderm using a magic formula to make it fly. At the top of the obelisk is an inscription whose letters are an acronym, suggested to your children to create one with the letters of their name!
Going up Via Etnea you will notice Piazza Università characterized by the presence of four bronze lampposts. If you look at them carefully you will notice that each one represents some characters, also linked to the famous legends of the city. One of the street lamps makes the children smile because they see their feet in the air and the rest of the body inside a well. This lamp represents the legend of Gammazita, a young catanese who, in order not to give in to the insistent courtship of a French soldier, threw himself into a well. The other three street lamps depict the legends of Colapesce, the Uzeda paladin and the Pii brothers.
A must for those taking a walk with children in Via Etnea. A park in the heart of the city where you can run freely, ride a bike and play football. Inside the Bellini’s garden, there are also some play areas with different slides and swings of various types and sizes. Near the entrance of Piazza Roma, there is a monumental tree that captures the attention of adults and children: a centuries-old ficus with enormous roots! My children love the cloister of music at the top of the hill, where they play at the theater and invent fantastic shows!
And after playing at the Villa Bellini, what could be better than eating with the excellent Savia pizzetta?
Between 1239 and 1250, Frederick II ordered to build the Ursino Castle for defensive purpose of the East coast of Sicily and it was on a promontory surrounded by sea. In 1669, the eruption gets the Castle away from the sea.
The museum often houses temporary exhibitions and events that melt with the permanent one. To be visited.
To admire the square and its monuments, sit at one of the historic bars where you can taste the local cuisine.
It’s located not far from Piazza Duomo, along the via Etnea, Piazza Università takes its name from the Siculorum Gymnasium also known as Palazzo Università. The characteristic of this square is the four bronze lamps positioned at its four corners depicting characters of folk tales from Catania.
To spend a pleasant night out, in summer, sit at one of the tables in Piazza Università. Enjoy it!
The Bellini’s Garden is better known as Bellini’s Villa, it belonged to the Biscari’s family, who gave it to citizenship in 1854. It’s in the heart of Catania and you can come in from several sides, but the main entrance is located along with the famous via Etnea.
Villa Bellini is the ideal place where to take a relaxing walk with your family.