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Welcome to Sicily’s dazzling east coast, and to Catania, with its UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre. Catania cruises are an architecture-lover’s dream – expect elegant piazzas filled with baroque domes, opulent cathedrals and historic convents. Don’t miss the Cathedra of Sant’Agata, which features a number of frescoes as well as a columned façade. Take a look at the famous elephant symbol of Catania at the Fontana dell’Elefante – a fountain topped with a basalt statue. All of that walking is bound to mean you work up an appetite. Luckily, Catania has a mouth-watering gastronomic heritage: it’s the birthplace of pasta alla Norma. Enjoy this hearty pasta dish, which combines tomatoes, aubergines and grated ricotta, on a restaurant terrace as the sun goes down. Towering over it all is perhaps Catania’s most recognisable asset: Mt Etna. Standing at a colossal 3329m, Mt Etna is Europe’s largest volcano. It’s also one of the most active, constantly providing spectacular eruptions from both its four craters at the summit and those along its flanks. This means that Mt Etna is sometimes closed to visitors, but if you’re lucky enough to visit when it’s open, you’ll discover atmospheric lunar landscapes as well as patches of vibrant life, teeming with native trees species and Mediterranean scrubland.
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