Catania Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Catania

Wondering how to spend one day in Catania? You are in the right place because I have prepared a detailed Catania itinerary for one day with a lot of useful travel tips.

Catania is one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily and it is known for its black lava stone buildings sourced from nearby Mount Etna.

It has a lot to offer to its visitors so you might be wondering if one day in Catania is enough. With all honesty, it is not, however, it gives you enough time to tick off the main attractions in central Catania.

Considering limited time, this is going to be a busy itinerary, but I am sure you are not intimidated by that as you want to make the most of your one day in Catania. Also, you can easily adjust this itinerary and skip some attractions that don’t excite you.

This Catania one-day itinerary includes a detailed plan that covers the best of Catania. Under each attraction, you will find a little background of the place, entrance fees, opening times, and everything else that you might need to know.

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Your one-day Catania itinerary 

  • Morning: Piazza del Duomo, Storico mercato del pesce di Catania, Canusciuti Sicilian Cafe, Church of Saint Benedict, Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena
  • Lunch: La Taverna del Grande Albero( Trattoria Mediterranea) 
  • Afternoon: Via Etnea (Piazza Università, Basilica della Collegiata, Pasticceria Savia), Teatro Massimo Bellini, Chiesa della Badia di Sant’Agata or Palazzo Biscari
  • Dinner: Achille (Via Plebiscito)

Piazza del Duomo

Catania One Day Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Catania
Fountain of the Elephant
Catania One Day Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Catania
Porta Uzeda

The beautiful Piazza del Duomo is the perfect place to start your 24 hours in Catania. This square is a real open-air museum with some of the most stunning attractions in Catania.

The brightest star is undoubtedly the Basilica Cattedrale di Sant’Agata dedicated to the saint protector of the city. This beautiful Baroque cathedral is famous for its columned facade and it is one of the most iconic churches in all Sicily.

In the square, you can also find the Fountain of the Elephant, one of the most loved sights by the locals. The elephant, in fact, is the symbol of Catania. Like many other buildings in Catania, the main element is black basalt while the plinth is built in white marble.

Don’t leave Duomo Square without taking a look at the Fontana dell’Amenano. This is another baroque masterpiece located on the south side of the square. The fountain was built in 1867 in Carrara Marble.

After admiring the wonders of Piazza del Duomo, your Catania itinerary takes you to Porta Uzeda, the door that connects the old Catania with the new. 

Porta Uzeda offers you the unique chance to admire Catania from a panoramic terrace. The view is my favorite in the city and you can admire the town under your nose with Mount Etna in the background. You can’t miss it when you visit Catania.

Storico mercato del pesce di Catania

Catania One Day Itinerary

When visiting Catania, bonding with locals and seeing life passing by is a must. There’s no better place than the historical fish market of Catania.

The freshest fish is sold in a chaotic yet charming setting under colorful umbrellas. The narrow stairs and streets of volcanic rock create a scenery that you can’t simply forget. 

The best part of this folkloristic place is that it’s incredibly and genuinely authentic. This is where people come to buy fish and other products. You can find restaurant owners, elderly people coming to find a good deal, or kids shopping for their parents.

The vendors are just lovely and will make you feel like a special guest even if you can’t shop. This was probably my favorite experience during my one day in day in Catania and I am sure you will love it too.

Canusciuti Sicilian Cafe

Catania One Day Itinerary

Sicily is known for its delicious sweets and coffee, so let’s use this excuse to have a nice coffee break. After visiting the fish market, find the Canusciuti Sicilian Cafe. The cafe has a laid-back ambiance and has some of the best cannoli in the city which are a must-try in Catania.

If you don’t feel like eating sweets, don’t worry! The cafe has also a big selection of salty products, including the famous arancini. 

Remember to order them using the masculine form, as their counterparts in Palermo refer to them as arancine—a subtle point of local rivalry as both cities claim paternity of the dish.

Church of Saint Benedict

Church of Saint Benedict in Catania
Church of Saint Benedict in Catania

When you visit Catania in one day you can’t miss the church of Saint Benedict. From Canisciuti cafe, walk Via Crociferi to appreciate the facade of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and the statute of Cardinale Dusmet.

After less than 200 meters you will find the Church of Saint Benedict. This elegant church is considered one of the most beautiful in the city. The architecture and the frescos that adorn the ceiling are an extraordinary work of art you can’t miss.

The entrance fee is 6 euros and it includes the next attraction of your Catania itinerary. Make sure you check opening times as it changes every season.

Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena

Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena in Catania

After visiting the Church of Saint Benedict, with the same ticket, discover the Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena. This is another must-add to your Catania 1-day itinerary.

Get to the monastery walking through Via Teatro Greco, not missing the Roman Theatre, and step into a building that dates back to 1558. Some of the most beautiful parts of the monastery are the cloister built with the typical black basalt and the library.

Another important part of the monastery is the church of San Nicolò l’Arena, famous for its baroque masterpieces, which completes the monastery complex.

Today the monastery hosts the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of the University of Catania and various exhibitions and cultural events.

Lunch: La Taverna del Grande Albero (Trattoria Mediterranea)

How to Spend One Day in Catania

Lunch is probably the time you are waiting for the most, and a must-do in Catania is trying the local food. La Taverna del Grande Albero is a Mediterranean restaurant where you can try the excellencies of Sicilian cuisine. 

I recommend you to try the ravioli with pistachio and honey or pasta with the seafood. If you are a vegetarian, my recommendation is to try “Pasta alla Norma”. The fish is also remarkable – the local shrimp from Mazara, the swordfish, and the sea bass are an absolute must. 

The house wine is perfect to accompany the food. There is a good selection of homemade sweets, but I recommend you enjoy a sweet at the next stop of this one-day Catania itinerary.

Via Etnea (Piazza Università, Basilica della Collegiata, Pasticceria Savia)

Via Etnea (Piazza Università, Basilica della Collegiata, Pasticceria Savia)
How to Spend One Day in Catania
Basilica della Collegiata

After a proper Sicilian lunch, your one-day in Catania itinerary takes you to Via Etnea, which is the most iconic street in the city. Via Etnea is a long street where locals and tourists come for shopping, coffee breaks, and architectural beauty.

From your restaurant head to the Piazza Stesicoro where you can glimpse the Roman Amphitheater of Catania. From there you can decide if you want your sweet and coffee break in Pasticceria Savia or head south to continue your Catania itinerary.

If you have a sweet tooth and want to indulge in a “dolce vita”, I strongly recommend you to visit Pasticceria Savia. This pastry shop is probably the best place where to try cannoli in Catania since 1897.

Going south via Etnea you will find Piazza Università, one of the most beautiful squares in the city. As the name suggests, you can find the beautiful University of Catania and the Basilica della Collegiata here.

Teatro Massimo Bellini

Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania

After head to the Teatro Massimo Bellini located on the square with the same name. This opera house is named after the local-born composer Vincenzo Bellini and it was inaugurated in 1890.

Architecturally, the theater reflects the style of late 19th-century European opera houses. Its design is influenced by the French eclecticism of the Second Empire.

As Teatro Massimo Bellini serves as a hub for opera, ballet, and classical music performances, you can attend a show if you feel like, it or just visit the interiors.

The theater is open from Tuesday to Saturday and I really recommend you to visit this gem as inside you will find fine and lavish interiors. The guided tours are in Italian and English and you can buy tickets directly at the desk for 6.50 euros.

Chiesa della Badia di Sant’Agata or Palazzo Biscari

Palazzo Biscari in Catania
Palazzo Biscari
Chiesa della Badia di Sant'Agata in Catania
Chiesa della Badia di Sant’Agata

After visiting the theater you have time to discover one final gem (or both if you are particularly fast!).

Chiesa della Badia di Sant’Agata stands next to the Basilica of Sant’Agata and it’s famous for its baroque style. But the best part is the panoramic terrace with Mount Etna views. Keep in mind that you will need to climb some narrow stairs, but the view is absolutely worth it. 

The entrance fee is 5 euros. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm. On Sundays, it is open from 9.30 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm.

If you feel in the mood to discover an artistic gem, then don’t miss Palazzo Biscari. This is one of the best places in Catania to admire some of the best baroque frescos and architecture.

The admission fee to visit Palazzo Biscari is 10 euros. As the palace hosts events and exhibitions the times can vary. Check their website or call the reception for more information. 

Dinner: Achille (Via Plebiscito)

If you are wondering where to eat like a local in Catania, there is no better place than Via Plebiscito. I have a good Sicilian friend who was attending the University of Catania and she said that this was a mandatory stop for her and friends every weekend.

All the street is packed with open-air barbecues and it is very folkloristic and feels so authentic. Don’t expect anything fancy in Via Plebiscito, but for sure you won’t be disappointed when it’s time to eat. My favorite place was Achille, but you have multiple options.

Catania is famous for horse meat and there’s no better place than Achille to try this local delicacy, but the place also has other Sicilian specialties.

I ended up canceling my seafood pasta once I tried the horse meat with pistachio. I am a huge seafood lover so this should give you an idea of how delicious it was.

Headed to Mount Etna after? Check Tour Etna & Wine Tasting

In conclusion…

Catania One Day Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Catania

This is the end of your one day in Catania and I am sure you are ready to hit the road to discover this beautiful Sicilian city.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

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Catania Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Catania
Catania Itinerary: How to Spend One Day in Catania

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