Catania, Italy

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September 18th 2014
Published: September 17th 2017
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Theater MarqueeTheater MarqueeTheater Marquee

This guy sat between two movie posters at the Odeon Cinema Catania. I wonder if he used to have a speaker.
Geo: 37.503, 15.0881

The flights were blessedly uneventful. I'll throw in a plug for a documentary called "Tim's Vermeer" that I started watching just as we finished crossing the Atlantic.

I muddled my way onto a bus and managed to get the right stop to find my room for the night. Peppe gave me some water and showed me around the flat. He also gave me a map with lots of places to go and not go marked. After a two-hour nap, I set out. I probably made it a good half hour before stopping for lemon granita.

I walked the streets and went into the impressive 17th century churches to see the frescos. I can't help but wonder what Catania looked like in the late 1800s. It's a little the worse for wear these days. Litter and graffiti are clearly challenges for the city. Still, the architecture is beautiful and the streets are filled with happy pedestrians and gelateria, so I'm in favor.

I saw the famous "Liotru," the local elephant fountain made from black lava rock which dates back to "Roman times." The black volcanic rock from Mt Etna is woven throughout the construction of the city, including entire walls, buildings and used
Example of artistic use of igneous rocksExample of artistic use of igneous rocksExample of artistic use of igneous rocks

Since there is an abundance of volcanic rock locally, the early residents put it to work in artistic and practical ways
for artistic effect in walkways.

One really strong point in favor of this particular B&B is that it is directly across the street from a really terrific local restaurant called Trattoria Catania Ruffiana. They get really high points for not turning me away when I showed up exhausted and starving on their doorstep (without a reservation) a half hour before they opened (they open at 8pm). They gave me a place to sit and a glass of wine and then just threw caution to the wind and handed me a menu. They have some fantastic deals on the prix fixe menu, but I could never have handled that amount of food tonight. I had a green salad (ensalata mista) which I was given balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt to dress myself and homemade ravioli with yellow pumpkin, artichokes, stone bass, shrimp and fennel with a very light seafood marinara. Absolutely fabulous and I nearly fell forward, asleep in my pasta. They even comped me warm chocolate cake sprinkled with ground pistachios which I was almost to exhausted to eat, but my rock-solid commitment to chocolate won out.

Tomorrow I meet up with Lucy and will hopefully have the energy to climb
Let the vacanze begin!Let the vacanze begin!Let the vacanze begin!

Tea during the layover in Rome. Coffee costs half as much. Boo.
Mt Etna.

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


Hope you are good at parallel parkingHope you are good at parallel parking
Hope you are good at parallel parking

Catania is probably not a fun place to own a car. The streets just were not designed for them.
Cats of CataniaCats of Catania
Cats of Catania

Actually, I saw many more stray dogs than cats, but this is for Kate.
What day is it?What day is it?
What day is it?

I may try and retake this picture in better light. The shrubbery gives you today's date which could be handy if you have lost track on your travels.
Giovanni Battista Vaccarini's Duomo facade (1736)Giovanni Battista Vaccarini's Duomo facade (1736)
Giovanni Battista Vaccarini's Duomo facade (1736)

Beautiful light for this building, but the Catanian Elephant was kind of left in the shade so I may try and photograph him later.
Bellini is not just a drinkBellini is not just a drink
Bellini is not just a drink

This statue celebrates Bel Canto composer Vicenzo Bellini and is not far from the Duomo.
Decorative walkwayDecorative walkway
Decorative walkway

This was my first exposure to the mosaic-type use of the black volcanic stones indigenous to the area.

You can push this do-it-yourself carousel in Bellini park and it spins easily. The park seemed to have more older kids who were interested in spending their free time other ways.

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