Five Reasons to Visit Catania

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At the foot of Mount Etna, overlooking the sea, and with roots that stretch back to ancient Greece and beyond, Catania is a place to encounter nature, history and lip-smacking cuisine

From beaches to renaissance art, sometimes it seems as if there's nothing the Italian island of Sicily doesn't have to offer. And if there's one city that captures it all, it's Catania — a great place to take in the mountains, the Mediterranean, folk traditions and fantastic food, all in the course of a day. Here are five Catania essentials.

1. The Fish Market
Kick off the morning in the lively piazza nearest the Duomo, where fishermen hawk their catch, before strolling under the 18th century arch. Work up a hunger as you weave through stalls selling seafood of every description, then head for lunch at the nearby Osteria Antica Marina,

2. The Teatro Romano
In the heart of the old city, ordinary storefronts look onto the ruins of a wide Roman amphitheater — a typical fusion of ancient and modern Catania. There's an upstairs museum with great views.

3. Mount Etna
Coughing up the odd blast of ash or smoke, Catania's nearby volcano is impossible to ignore. Visit by car or circumnavigate it by train. See

4. Savia
Fabulous local pastries often pay tribute to St. Agatha, the local patron saint. This pastry shop,, offers ricotta-based minnuzzi (Sicilian for breasts) that provide a tasty, if not tasteful, symbol of her martyrdom.

5. Fratelli Napoli
The southern Italian tradition of puppetry lives on in this lovely theater, which, after four generations, is still in the hands of the Napoli family. Check for shows on