Sand, rocks, gravel. In other words, everything.
The shoreline of Catania and its province is the most varied you could imagine. Going around the Ionic coast, the landscape changes in a few kilometres, showing the visceral relantionship between Catania and its seaside.
Let’s begin with the splendid Plaja beach: a 22 kilometres golden sandy shore, that has nothing to envy to the most famous tropical beaches. Surfers and bathers in the morning and music and dance at night, liven the beach up, in a town that never sleeps.
Let’s go nearer the city center. The first place to see is the village of San Giovanni Li Cuti. A tiny plot of volcanic land produced the phenomenon of black volcanic sand.
This black rocky strip, lapped by vivid blue sea and full of pubs and restaurants, is the most beloved beach by the people of Catania and tourists too, at any time of the day. By local tradition, lots of people go there for the first swim of the year.
A little farther on, you can easily catch sight of the small port of Ognina, which shelters hundreds of fishing boats and pleasure craft. Some historical remarks won’t do any harm! So, it is worth knowing that the current port is all that remains of the ancient port of Ulysses, largely covered by lava flows of the 1381 eruption. On Sundays, this small port becomes the cheerful site of a picturesque fish market.
Moving on to the seacoast and leaving this fascinating view behind, you will reach another charming landscape that calls to mind the Greek mythology. First of all, you will find Acicastello, an ancient seafaring village, dominated by the Norman Castle (don’t miss it!) built in lava stone on a rock sheer above the sea. And then, here we are in Acitrezza (a Trizza).
The Faraglioni (three crags out to sea) will welcome you. According to Homer’s Odyssey, they were thrown by Polyphemus against Ulysses who had blinded him with a flaming stake. The largest of these crags is known as Isola Lachea, today natural marine reserve and home to several animal species. And that’s not all. Acitrezza was the set of Luchino Visconti’s film La Terra trema, based on Verga’s novel I Malavoglia.
Leaving Acitrezza, you will come to the seafront of Acireale where the myth of the shepherd Aci and the nymph Galatea resounds. A myriad of picturesque fishing villages: from Capomulini to Pozzillo, from Santa Tecla to Santa Maria La Scala, where the sound of waves is the background of everyday life. The Chiazzette (charming ramps cut out of the lava of the Timpa), reserves and terraces overlooking the sea, called “ Sailors’ Vineyard ” being the most abounding in fish in the Mediterranean sea.
Finally, here’s a juicy piece of news for you: go to Santa Maria La Scala, on the last Sunday of August when it takes place the feast of the Virgin Mary. You will admire a folkloristic competition between the schetti’s (bachelo rs) boat and the maritati’s (married) boat. Nothing special except that the two challenging boats are real works of art decorated with symbolic drawings, reminiscent of earlier cultures.
The sea in Catania is not just fun, but above all history…