,,You could call Catania pretty much everything, but tidy it is not. The road from the train station to the city center can be downright shocking after an idyllic drive through the mountains, but anyone who has already navigated the maze that is Naples, and perhaps even fallen in love with the wild romance of Southern Italy, will soon begin to relax those tense, hunched shoulders.
Mount Etna keeps popping up on the horizon here, always smoking nicely – just like the locals, whether a twelve-year-old kid at the fish market or the eighty-year-old grandfather who examines the fresh tuna with a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. I can’t emphasize enough how cool it is that these people live right under an active volcano. It gives a certain weight to every day, knowing it might just blow its top, and aesthetically makes Catania a sort of Mediterranean Salzburg, though there’s no risk here of the police taking you away if you spit in the street.
Catania has a bad reputation, but it’s worth at least giving it a chance – though I still wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a honeymoon destination. It’s a good spot for street photographers, though, since you’ll find a beautiful church or at least a shrine on every street corner, and every face begs to be immortalized. Sunrises, meanwhile, are as orange as the fruit ripening in the city parks.” (2017)
The city is
dominated by a great deal of the hustle and bustle and is full of shops,
restaurants, and bars, so whatever you want, you can find it. Traffic, like
almost everything else, is chaotic. But this is not surprising for Italy,
and while it was sometimes infuriating at the beginning, by the end of the five
months, I was more inclined as a foreigner to find it amusing.
service is excellent and frequent, although the timetable is more or less
imaginary. Buses come when they feel like it, or at least that's
the impression I get.
descriptions I read before the trip, it was clear that this would be
quite a dirty city – something that went for the whole of Sicily in general –
and that walking around at night would not be advisable. There was
nothing for it; we had to walk from the bus station to our accommodation. However, it is not dangerous at all and seemed like a completely normal provincial
Italian (or, in general, European) city after dark. (Though, I
don't know the headquarters of the famous-famous Sicilian mafia; maybe we were
just lucky we didn't wander there at night 😃.) Anyway, I wouldn't even call it excessively dirty (countless places worldwide are much more polluted than this). (l.v., 2023)