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With the gateway city of Catania, the fertile eastern slopes of Mount Etna with picturesque hillside towns, vineyards, citrus groves and rocky coastlines, the east of Sicily boasts dramatic views across the Ionian Sea to Calabria on mainland Italy.
Catania is the second largest city in Sicily and is situated at the foot of Mount Etna in front of the Ionian Sea. Being so close to the volcano, Catania has experienced its fair share of turmoil over the years and has been rebuilt a number of times as a result using the same volcanic rock to create a beautiful collection of Baroque-style buildings. It provides a gateway into the island with international airport and with its university and buzzing city centre, Catania is one of the most popular commercial cities in Sicily with a host of restaurants, bars, shops and monuments.
The attractive seaside spa city of Acireale is situated 16km north of Catania above the rocky coastline surrounded by lemon groves. Rebuilt 4 times, there are a number of Baroque-style buildings in the city’s old town alongside Roman thermal baths and a selection of restaurants, bars and shops. The city is renowned for Carnevale di Acireale (Feb/March), in which beautifully finished floats and satirical masks are carried through the city along with live music and an abundance of local food and wine.
Carruba di Riposto
Just 2km from the coast and 30km away from Mount Etna National Park, Carruba di Riposto is about 10km to the historic town of Acireale and 30km to both Catania to the south and Taormina to the north making it an ideal base for those looking to explore the east coast of Sicily.
The town of Riposto is 30km to Mount Etna National Park and about 12km to the historic town of Acireale. Catania is 30km to the south and a similar distance to Taormina to the north making it an ideal base for those looking to explore the east coast of Sicily.
Zafferana Etnea is a small hillside town on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna 600m above sea level, surrounded by vineyards and citrus groves, ideal for viewing the picturesque Sicilian coastline. The town attracts visitors and walkers throughout the year, to explore the cultural heritage of the town with 18th century buildings and elegant central piazza and of course Mount Etna national park.
Viagrande is in the province of Catania near the east coast of Sicily and is famous for its fascinating old town centre and Casa delle Farfalle Monteserra (Butterfly House) and Etna Museum.
It is an ideal location for visiting Mount Etna National Park (Rifugio Sapienza 21km) and Taormina (45km). Viagrande itself is a bustling town with some nice piazzas, palazzo-lined streets and some Baroque churches to visit. Gran Caffe Urna is a Viagrande institution that has been serving the local population since 1885, where visitors can enjoy a gelato or one of the pastries that Sicily is famous for.
This local area is also known for its wines, grown in the rich volcanic soil with heritage grapes found only here. Try the Etna DOC - its white is made with the Carricante vintage, which is only cultivated on Mount Etna, while the red is made from Negrello, the principle red grape of this part of Sicily.
This coastal town is located alongside Riposto, Mount Etna National Park is about 30km away and the spa town of Acricale is 12km along the coast. Giarre is home to a neo-classical cathedral from the 18th century, the remains of an 11th century church, a museum dedicated to the people of Etna and an aquarium.