Catania, Sicily

Catania, Sicily

Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, at the foot of Mount Etna. Steep, rugged Sicily had bred a race of fierce, funny and passionate people. From this important port, drive up the coast to visit Taormina. First Greeks, then Romans used this as a place of worship and reward. View the temples and the theater, Mt. Etna in the distance, or take a stroll and shop in the little village before you leave.

Mount Etna is a favourite tourist attraction both in the summer and winter months.

Other places of interest include Monastero dei Benedettini, the Museo dello Sbarco and the Piazza Duomo, which is the heart of Catania. The cathedral dedicated to Santa Agata dominates the space and in the centre is the Fontana dell’Elefante (Elephant Fountain).

Taormina, a small town located between Catania and Messina, is a popular excursion for visitors and offers more shopping opportunities.

For beach action, head to Marina di Cottone Beach (aka Fiumefreddo Beach), located right on the edge of the Mount Etna Regional Park.

The disabled cruiser visiting Catania will find the city relatively accessible. The town is for the most part flat with only minor sloping hills. Most of the streets are smooth, but you will encounter winding cobblestone lanes hiding boutique stores. Piazza del Duomo is located in central Catania. It is walking distance from most of the city’s other major sights, although several bus services run through the day and stop nearby. Like any city in Italy you will encounter stairs.

Where You’re Docked

Cruise ships dock at the port, around 2km from the center of town.

Taxis are available at the entrance.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency is the euro.

Language

The official language is Italian and Sicilian

Shopping

The main shopping street is called Via Etnea. Ceramics are a popular buy.

Local dishes include ‘pesce spada’ (swordfish), ‘pasta alla Norma’ (pasta dressed with tomato sauce, topped with fried eggplant slices, grated ricotta salata and fresh basil), ‘arancino’ (cone-shaped rice croquette filled with meat, tomato sauce, cheese and peas) and Marsala wine.

Points of Interest

  • The Village of Piazza Armerina – Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Roman villa embellished with mosaics, this quaint town reveals a glorious history through its architecture. Stroll through this showcase of baroque-style monuments, Arab-influenced houses and magnificent palaces.
  • Town of Savoca – This mountaintop village is famously known for the catacombs of its Capuchin monastery and its starring role in The Godfather films. Movie buffs will enjoy exploring its narrow streets, identifying key locations and reenacting favorite scenes.
  • Siracusa (Syracuse) – Originally founded as a Greek colony in 734 B.C. this ancient town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural significance. Explore its Roman and Greek ruins, baroque architecture, and Duomo, a massive cathedral once a Greek temple.
  • Catania – Sicily’s second-largest city is a vibrant metropolis noted for its baroque architecture and collections of art and artifacts. Take in the Piazza del Duomo and its famous Elephant Fountain, then sample local fare and enjoy the banter at the colorful markets.
  • Sicilian Food or Wine – A cornucopia of cultures, Sicily has been endowed over the centuries with Greek, French, Arab and Spanish influences, contributing to the complexity of its cuisine. One of Europe’s oldest homes of viticulture, its wines pair perfectly with the local gastronomy.
  • Mt. Etna – Europe’s tallest and most active volcano has erupted over 130 times in recorded history. Enjoy views of the summit as well as the town of Catania, buried by an eruption over 300 years ago. A cable car takes tourists from 1900m above the sea level to 2500m above sea level where people can transfer to the 4×4 cars and go even higher. Tourist can also drive their own vehicles up to the 1900m mark. The cable car is very small and narrow, meaning it is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Taormina – This has been a coastal resort town since Roman times. You’ll find remnants of its Greek and Roman history, a fine medieval quarter and castle ruins, and many modern shops and restaurants.
  • Greek Theater – Built in the 3rd-century B.C, with some alterations made during the Roman era, this ancient theater in Taormina is still perfectly conserved. It’s still used today for concerts and classical productions.

Catania Accessible Excursions

Whether you’re arriving in Catania, Messina, Palermo, Taormina, or Giardini Naxos, these accessible shore excursions meet your needs. These wheelchair accessible shore excursions of Sicily include an officially-certified, English speaking guide as well as round-trip transportation in a wheelchair accessible van.

Best of Mount Etna and Taormina Accessible Shore Excursion

This 8-hour Best of Mount Etna & Taormina Accessible Shore Excursion, will bring you to an ancient Greek colony, see Europe’s largest volcano (11,000 ft. Mount Etna), and experience the incredible landscape of Giardini Naxos Bay.

Your knowledgeable tour guide will pick you up from the cruise dock in a wheelchair accessible vehicle, where you’ll be able to view the amazing countryside in comfort between the attractions.

The Taormina accessible shore excursion begins in the village of Castelmola, which has a history dating back to 396 BC! You will then spend 1 or 2 hours in Taormina enjoying sights such as the ancient Greek theater of Taormina, built in the early 7th century BC and Via Valeria Road, and ancient Roman road that traverses Italy.

Your tour will then take you to Catania where you will visit Catania’s baroque city center boasts an early cathedral with stunning architecture.

Sit back and enjoy the culture, history, and beauty of Sicily with this accessible tour that is sure to have something for everyone. The Best of Mount Etna & Taormina Accessible Cruise Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the guide is unable to push a wheelchair.

Syracuse Wheelchair Accessible Guided Tour

Your guide and driver will pick you up from the cruise terminal in an accessible van to begin your 8-hour wheelchair accessible cruise excursion. Syracuse is situated on the southern part of the Island of Sicily, so you will enjoy panoramic views of the Sicilian coast on your way to the city. This 2700-year-old city has so much to offer, that this full day accessible guided tour of Syracuse is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your vacation.

Your first stop is the Archeological Park of Neapolis. This vast area of ancient ruins includes a Roman amphitheatre, a Greek theater, and a stone quarry and gardens area (the Latomia del Paradiso).

You will then visit the historical heart of Syracuse, Ortygia Island. It is the “old city center” and is a popular area for entertainment, shopping, and eating. Walk/roll down the streets of the old town to the Arethusa Fountain, a freshwater fountain and garden that flows to the sea. The wheelchair accessible Arethusa Fountain viewing area from above has a ramp rather than stairs, so it is easy to navigate for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility.

Afterwards, you will walk/roll through the open air, local market of Ortygia, where vendors sell fresh fish, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and handmade goods. At the end of your Syracuse wheelchair accessible guided tour, your driver will take you back to the cruise terminal where you will board your ship.

The Siracuse Wheelchair Accessible Guided Tour uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the guide is unable to push a wheelchair.

Best of Messina Accessible Cruise Excursion

This full-day accessible cruise excursion of Messina features  and wheelchair accessible transportation.

Begin your 8-hour Best of Messina Accessible Cruise Excursion when your guide and driver pick you up from the cruise terminal in an accessible van with a wheelchair ramp. You will then begin your breathtaking views of the coast drive to the city of Messina and learn about the knights and crusaders who traveled through this port on their way to the crusades in the 12th century.

Richard the Lionheart visited the 12th century Cathedral of Messina to worship on his way to the crusades. The cathedral is decorated with beautiful sculptures and mosaics, and the bell tower is home to one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world.

Next, see the bronze statues of the Church of Christ the King and view the entire city as well as the straight of Messina from one of the best scenic spots in the city.

After touring the city of Messina, your accessible cruise excursion will continue to Tindari, or Tyndaris, which sits on a hill above the crystal waters of the Tyrrhenian coast. This Bronze Age (1500 BC) settlement became a Roman city in 254 BC and by 365 AD was one of Sicily’s most important Greek cities. Visit the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna as your guide explains the legends surrounding the mysterious appearance of the coastline shaped like the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, your guide will take you to the ruins of a 4th century BC Greek amphitheater. 

At the end of your Best of Messina Accessible Cruise Excursion, your guide and driver will drop you back at the cruise terminal where you arrived.

The Best of Messina Accessible Cruise Excursion uses a wheelchair accessible van and has a step-free tour route. However, the guide is unable to push a wheelchair.