Best Western Hotel Santa Caterina, elegant and comfortable 4-star in Acireale, is the ideal starting pointto go and discover some gems of Sicily.
There are different ways to discover the splendid sea of our coast: rent a raft in one of the marinas of the nearby fishing villages, walk along the paths of the Timpa Nature Reserve, be accompanied by fishermen in the Marine Protected Area Isola dei Ciclopi or relax in a delightful private club equipped with sun beds, umbrellas, bar and restaurant 3 minutes by car from the Best Western Hotel Santa Caterina.
The city of Catania is mainly known thanks to its extreme proximity to the largest still active European volcano, the Etna, which has always played a predominant role in the city's history. The city is also famous for its strong devotion to the Patron Saint, S. Agata, celebrated in the first days of February. The city must also be remembered for having given birth to famous personalities for music and literature, such as Vincenzo Bellini and Giovanni Verga. Catania and its province are able to reserve pleasant surprises for those who want to go in search of genuine flavors and inimitable recipes: the civilizations of the sea, of Etna and the Calatino offer routes that are still original. The fish, the wines of Etna, the pistachio of Bronte, the red oranges of the plain, the ficodindia of San Cono, the grapes of Mazzarrone, the torroncini of Belpasso, the bread of Ramacca, the granite of the acese, Sant'Alfio hazelnuts, Militello mustard, Santa Venerina limoncello, Linguaglossa and Grammichele sausages, the "sangeli" of the popular districts of Catania, are just some examples of the various and colorful itineraries of the province of Catania, studded with countless trattorias, taverns and typical restaurants.
Beautifully nestled on a rocky plateau at 200 m altitude. Taormina occupies a wonderful position, like a balcony overlooking the sea and facing the Etna. Travel destination since 1700, it was only during the last thirty years of the nineteenth century that Taormina had a remarkable tourist development.
Many foreigners, especially English and Germans, decided to build villas in Taormina and the city hosted a lot of personalities, from Emperor William II to Edward VII to famous families (the Rothschilds, the Krupps). The mild climate, the beauty of the landscape and the calm that reigns all around have made Taormina famous throughout the world. The pedestrian center of Taormina is built around Corso Umberto I, the main artery of the city, from which it is possible to reach all, or almost all, of the most interesting points.
Siracusa is the city that best represents the famous Sicilian Baroque.
A visit to the city cannot fail to start from the island of Ortigia: an island connected to the rest of the city by two bridges, which constitutes the oldest part of Siracusa and its historic center: the sumptuous buildings, the maze of narrow streets that often end up on breathtaking views, make it truly magical. The Duomo, which stands on the highest part of the island of Ortigia, is the centerpiece of the city: it stands on the ancient foundations of a Doric temple and since 2005 has become part of the UNESCO heritage.
The Piazza del Duomo houses numerous Baroque buildings, including the splendid Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, with its Baroque facade, the portal and the wrought iron balcony. With a short walk, starting from Piazza del Duomo, you can reach the famous Fonte Aretusa, an ancient spring that flows from a cave and which has become famous thanks to the myth of the beautiful nymph Aretusa and Alfeo.
Then walking on the seafront of Syracuse, you can reach Castel Maniace, one of the most beautiful castles in Sicily. Finally, a stop not to be missed, the Aretuseo Museum of the "Pupi", absolutely characteristic.
Val di Noto
Val di Noto is the south-eastern area of Sicily and includes 8 cities recognized as UNESCO heritage sites: Caltagirone, Catania, Militello Val di Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo Acreide, Ragusa and Scicli. In 1693 this area was destroyed by a devastating earthquake that razed cities and villages to the ground. At the beginning of the following century, however, architects and engineers worked to rebuild the destroyed areas and decided to give the buildings a style that was an exaltation of the Sicilian Baroque: thus the Late Baroque of the Val di Noto was born, using the ductile limestone, very white in sunlight, but which takes on wonderful pink hues at sunset. Precisely for this reason flourish and evolve of the Baroque, 8 cities of the Val di Noto have obtained recognition of World Heritage: among the criteria adopted by UNESCO it is said in fact "The cities of the Val di Noto represent the apex and final flowering of Baroque art in Europe ".
The name Etna comes from the ancient Greek Roman Aetna. In the Middle Ages the volcano acquired a second name: Mongibello which derives from the Italian "monte" and from the Arabic "djebel" which has the same meaning. Besides being a large active volcano, it is also a high mountain, located at the center of the Mediterranean which considerably exceeds the other Sicilian mountains (the second Sicilian peak after Etna is Pizzo Carbonara on the Madonie, with 1979 m of altitude). Its climate is therefore quite varied in relation to altitude and exposure; however it is everywhere of Mediterranean type, even at the highest altitudes, where scarce summer rains are reported. The eastern side, directly affected by the low pressure areas coming from the Ionian Sea, is more humid. The Etnean eruptions manifest themselves with explosions from the craters or from mouths that periodically open near the top, are mainly effusive and very spectacular, the lava flows often only affect the upper parts of the volcano. In the last 5 years the volcanic activity has been only on the peak and almost continuous: this behavior can last for several more years, culminating in the medium term in a less frequent and more dangerous lateral eruption. Due to the significant geological and landscape naturalistic significance, Etna has been declared a Natural Park. In Greek mythology Etna was considered as the kitchen of the God Vulcan, and also the home of the Cyclops, huge giants with one eye, Ulysses knows something about it.
All these itineraries, and many others, are easily reachable starting from the Best Western Hotel Santa Caterina: a lot of excellent reasons to book a stay in our 4-star hotel in Acireale!