Catania is a big port town on the island of Sicily, which is right down by the boot which forms the country of Italy. The imposing Mount Etna, a dormant volcano, hovers high above the city. Some day trips and excursions are available away from Catania, but my mom and I decided to save our money and just explore the port town. At first I was a little afraid that it would be super boring. But it turned out to be a pretty neat place!
When we got off of the ship, we rented bikes from a guy for just 3 euro per hour – such a steal! Then we pedaled to the main square in town, the Duomo Square; so called because of the cathedral which stands on the square. I wasn’t too impressed by the inside of the cathedral; being quite a connoisseur and knowledgable source on cathedrals at this point, it takes some special features to make a cathedral stand out. I thought that the most interesting part of this cathedral was that they had preserved some of the original flooring of the ancient temple which stood on the same site. Then again, by this point in history, almost ALL religious buildings are built atop others; so as I said, not too impressed.
What did impress me was the way the exterior of the buildings on the square all meshed together to form an impressive facade from any angle. All of the components; the buildings, the fountain, and the statue in the square combined for an aesthetically pleasing space. After visiting the square, we rode our bikes to go see the ancient Roman theater, and had to ride all the way around it once until we found the partially hidden entrance. The citizens of Catania built homes atop of the ancient theater through the 1900s. Finally, it was decided that the theater ought to be preserved as the ancient piece of architecture that it is, so the housing was removed. Most fascinating to me were the photos of the theater first underneath the housing, then during the excavation, then seeing it how it is now… Incredible!
We saw some other old Roman ruins and rode along the main road in town before turning in our bicycles. Then, tech savvy ladies that we are, we went to the port stores in order to connect to their free wifi. It is important to inform the general public of our Italian adventures, after all! Now we are off to Athens, Greece, and in route we have one full day to wreck havoc on the open seas as the cruise ship carries us oh so gently to our next location.