Destroyed several times by eruptions from Mt Etna and an earthquake in 1693, this busy port, situated along the northeast coast of Sicily, on the Gulf of Catania, is now graced by wide boulevards, lush parks and spacious piazzas. Choose from the medieval power of the 11th-century cathedral and the Castello Ursino, the Baroque fantasy of San Nicolo, or return to the ancient origins of the city with a visit to the Greek theatre. Just a short drive up the coast are the Greek glories of Taormina, with unforgettable views of Mt. Etna.
Catania was founded as a Greek colony in the 8th century BC, and captured by the Romans in 263 BC, during the First Punic War. It was plundered by the Normans in the late 11th century. It has suffered many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and sustained severe bomb damage in World War II.