The second-largest city
in Sicily, Catania sits in the shadow of Europe’s
highest volcano, Mount Etna, on the east of Sicily
between Syracuse and Taormina.
Ugly, decayed and crime-ridden
today, it was once called the ‘city of black
and white’ because of the use of white marble
and black lava to construct its elegant buildings,
many of which have since fallen into ruins or
been destroyed by war, earthquakes and lava flows.
In summer Catania sizzles; it is regarded as the
hottest city in Italy with temperatures often
soaring to 104ºF (40ºC).
Despite its unattractive
aspects, Catania is an ancient city, founded in
729 BC, and boasts some interesting historical
relics. There are two Roman amphitheatres, one
reminiscent of Rome’s Colosseum, and a 13th-century
fortress, Ursino Castle, which is now a museum.
The city’s cathedral contains some royal
tombs and was built in the 11th century.
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