Things I’ve recently learned about Catania:
-It is at the foot of Mount Etna: biggest active volcano in Europe! (I, for one, am extremely keen on seeing it.) Click here to see live Etna Web cams!
-Etna erupted in 1669 destroying the city and leaving everything covered in lava. Less than thirty years later a large earthquake wreaked further destruction. Catania’s residents, not to be put off, rebuilt the city with the available local materials: black lava and light-coloured limestone. The city is literally a phoenix arising from its own ashes.
-The food promises to be delicious! A local specialty is Pasta all Norma. The dish is named in honour of the composer Vincenzo Bellini, a local Catanian, who wrote the opera “Norma,” which (as all good tragedies should) has a cast of characters involving Druid high priestesses, Roman centurion and sacrificial pyres. The opera opened the Massimo Bellini Theater in 1890. The theatre is open for guided tours, but unfortunately no operas are playing during the week of the event.