So you might find that this is a bit of a different blog post, as I normally write in reflection based on recent experiences/visits to different places. However, I am going to Sicily on holiday in a month or so and instead I am going to release some of the built up excitement I have about travelling there, by writing a blog about the places I would like to go.
Now if any of you have been to Sicily – specifically Catania – I would LOVE your recommendations. I am a big lover of Italian food and drink, however I have never been to Sicily before and I would love to taste as much Sicilian wine and food as possible during my few days there. I have had approximately one glass of Sicilian wine in my life and it was in a wine tasting just last week…
To eat & drink
Now with a 4.5 TripAdvisor rating, I am really excited for dinner here on our first night. I absolutely adore seafood and their menu is full of Sicilian wines, so this feels like the right start to the holiday. I am particularly excited about the mentions of delicious risotto and lemon gelato in the reviews. The exciting thing about this restaurant is that the dress code is ‘elegant’ which is so great because I absolutely love any excuse to dress up.
I also definitely plan on visiting the wine bar in the same building:
“The wine bar Il Palmento 1892 is one of the most impressive and best preserved wine press of eastern Sicily. A place that tells the stories about vineyard, that’s the place where the old “Wine Trails” have found their natural home.” Castello San Marco website
La Cucina del Palladio Ristorante & Bar
Now this place has mostly great views on TripAdvisor but there are a few bad ones which is making me question it. Generally as a pescetarian I’m sure the menu will be plentiful and varied as there seems to be a focus on fish dishes. Has anyone been here who has an opinion?
I’m mainly planning on heading here for the images of the gorgeous views that accompany the food rating. We are hoping for warm weather so dinner on a roof terrace sounds dreamy.
Based on their description on TripAdvisor, it sounds like exactly like the kind of place I would absolutely adore.
“We create our tasting menus as a trip between the old and healthy Sicilian recipes to discover the wealth of the Ionian sea populated by a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans and molluscs, the endless variations of vegetarian dishes of the peasant cooking, the cooking of the convents and the sumptuous culinary art of the aristocracy.”
Al Vicolo dei Capricci
So this looks super cheap and cheerful (as a contrast to the above) but from my research this menu is purely delicious deep-fried risotto balls with great varieties of fillings and I am all about that. Veggie arancinis seem to be stuffed with tomato, aubergine and onions, plus I have also seen reviews for a pistachio arancini too. I’m sure my boyfriend may also be tempted to try the arancini ragu.
Porto Azzurro Ristorante e Banqueting
Another fancy dinner option, but the photos of these dishes were too gorgeous to resist including. I think it’s probably unlikely we can afford this level dinner each evening, but it is a holiday after all so we can try fit them all in!
Their menu includes items such as tuna tartare, octopus salad cheese with honey and prosciutto with pears and seabass with a fine crust, I’m sure we will both find lots we will enjoy. If anyone has been here too please let me know, I’d love to hear your recommendations.
A Putia dell’Ostello
This wine bar inside a natural lava grotto by an underground river is a beautiful unique experience I really don’t want to miss out on. After being buried by an Etna eruption in 1669, the Amenano river can be seen only in a handful of places across Catania. With only 7 tables I would love to reserve this, however it does require hiring a car which we haven’t yet done – as much as it is only an hour in the car, I’m not sure I’m up for an 8 hour hike. However sipping wine by an active volcano is the kind of risk I’m up for taking.
This is in a similar area to the above, but if we do make it this far down, I am definitely interested in eating a lot of almond pastries, as I actually don’t think there is enough marzipan in the world to satisfy me.
Monastero dei Benedettini
From photos I can’t get over how beautiful Sicily is and I’m so excited to just spend hours wandering around Catania and admiring the architecture. The Monastero dei Benedettini is definitely on my list of places to visit if we do hire a car.
“Only A few minutes walk from the Cathedral of Catania there is the Church of San Benedetto, right in the middle of the famous baroque street called Via Crociferi. The church is considered a small Sicilian Sistine chapel because of the richness of its frescoes realized by Giovanni Tuccari, a painter from Messina, in the 18th century. But the church is not just a triumph of baroque painting, there is also a large choir that looks like a Spanish galleon, a huge and beautiful reminder of the secluded life of the cloistered nuns that still live here, and the famous Angels’ staircaise made of marble and stucco. The Church of San Benedetto is also famous because it was part of the set for “Storia di una Capinera” by Franco Zeffirelli, a movie from the short story by Giovanni Verga.For the city of Catania it is a symbol of religious faith that reaches its peak during the festivities of Sant’Agata when the Benedictine nuns sing, for the patron saint, from the central gate.” TripAdvisor
Sadly it seems unlikely that we will manage to go inside as it is so hugely popular that I can’t seem to find availability for tickets. Any ideas on how to get these without buying online? I am hopeful we might be able to buy them there!
The area surrounding the Duomo looks to be stunning and full of Catania’s history, I am unsure at this point whether a walking tour/food tour of Catania is something I am interested in purchasing, as normally I just like to wander around cities and lose myself in them in my own time. What is your favourite way to explore?
Teatro Massimo Bellini
Unable to bypass the opportunity to visit such a famous Opera house, the Teatro Massimo Bellini is definitely on my list of places to visit. There is nothing on at the time we are visiting, but I do hope that means we may be able to go on a tour throughout.
“Widely acclaimed as one of Italy’s most magnificent opera houses, the grand Teatro Massimo Bellini is a dazzling tribute to its namesake, 19th-century Catania-born composer Vincenzo Bellini, and opened its doors in 1890 with a performance of Bellini’s masterpiece ‘Norma’. Today, Bellini’s works feature largely among the theater’s annual roster of operas, concerts and recitals, and performances in the 1,200-seat auditorium regularly sell out, with summer concerts even spilling over into the adjoining Bellini Square.” Viator
Casa delle Farfalle Monteserra
This place came up amongst the unique experiences from visiting Catania. It is a beautiful butterfly house to visit on the way South to some of the other attractions.
The result is that with where our accommodation is situated, we can travel both North and South to visit the various interest points in Catania and there is so much so see, do and eat that I am really excited to finally visit.
If there is anywhere I’ve missed that you recommend please do share in the comments as I would love to hear your ideas!