“In the dark foray, the timbre of a rope, the fires and melodies in Catania…. In the days of mourning they love each other more tenderly, the songs resonate more sweetly. And majestically solitary Etna’s cone against the starry sky, where the pale slightly rosy crown is fading.”
Thus wrote about Catania Ivan Bunin, in “Poems and Tales,” 1907. And not much has changed, except that the city over the years has increased its tourist offerings. Catania is one of the best-known cities in Sicily, located on the west coast of the island and overlooking the Ionian Sea.
It is famous for being home to Mount Etna, the largest and most active volcano in Europe, which in 1693 destroyed the city with earthquakes and lava flows. The city boasts a unique beauty, a mix of east and west with Baroque buildings built after the eruption.
An ideal destination for those seeking a pleasant place to spend their vacations, it is a popular tourist destination for foreigners, and is also home to many university students: in fact, Catania boasts Sicily’s first university, dating back to 1434.
The city of Etna has fairly low prices for houses both to rent and to buy; the outlying areas are more affordable, while the center has higher prices. The cost of living in general is also lower than in northern and central Italy, and among other things you can save on groceries because it boasts really delicious street food. Here is a brief guide to Catania’s main neighborhoods, ideal for those looking for an apartment or room to rent in Catania:
Those who choose Catania to live there can buy or Renting house in the historic center of unforgettable beauty. In the central University Square is the seat of the University of Catania (the Regional University Library is also located here), right near the city’s salon buono, namely Via Etnea, which starts from the Cathedral, passes the Roman Amphitheater and flanks the Bellini Garden to Parco Gioeni. The area is also ideal for young people seeking nightlife, which takes place in the areas surrounding Piazza Vincenzo Bellini, which is overlooked by the Teatro Massimo. The adjacent Via del Teatro Massimo comes alive in the evenings thanks to the many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs where you can stay up late.
The Plaia area is the waterfront south of Catania, located between the port and the border with the province of Syracuse. Renting a house here is ideal for those who love the sea and spending their free hours at the beach. Several bathing establishments , free beaches, and various resort services, such as hotels, restaurants, discos, and aqua parks, are located here. Of course, there are some disadvantages as well: for starters, during the weekends in warm weather the area is taken by storm by Catanese and becomes very crowded, and then it is far from the center and the university: those who do not have a car will have to rely only on public transportation.
The Cibali district, where the city’s stadium is located, is on the northwest outskirts of Catania and is a rather busy area, but it is Catania’s oldest neighborhood. Surrounding Bonadies Square and Spedini Square is the heart of the neighborhood, and renting a home here means breathing the authentic air of the city. Walk down Cifali Street to the center of Catania, either on foot or by relying on public transportation. Prices in this area are definitely lower than downtown, but the drawback is that after a busy day of study, you need to go downtown to have fun-the area is certainly not renowned for its nightlife.
Picanello is located northeast of Catania and came into existence in the 19th century, after the city expanded as a result of the large population growth it experienced at that time. It is bounded by Marco Polo and Ulysses avenues, Vittorio Veneto Avenue and Leopardi Street. Originally a resort area for Catania’s wealthiest families, it experienced a real building boom in the 1950s and 1960s. Today it remains one of Catania’s prestigious areas, with the areas of Corso Italia and Piazza Europa very popular. Renting a house in Picanello is a great option for those looking for a nice neighborhood to live in, not too far from downtown.
Borgo Sanzio is an area that alone has more than 50,000 inhabitants, mostly small- to middle-class. It is in turn divided into three neighborhoods: Borgo, Tribunali and Sanzio, the latter two more affluent and well-maintained. Vittorio Emanuele Square, also known as Umberto Square, is the hub of the neighborhood’s day and night life, literally taken by storm by young people in the evening hours. There are also schools, parks and offices, a sign of a neighborhood that is alive and well, a good choice for those who want to rent a house in Catania without submitting to the hustle and bustle of the historic center.
Ognina is located in the northern part of the municipality of Catania, includes the neighborhoods of Barriera del Bosco, Canalicchio, Villaggio Cardinale Dusmet, Picanello, San Giovanni li Cuti, and Guardia, and lies on the waterfront, with a promenade, a lava rock cliff, and several bathing areas. The neighborhood is well served by the municipal transportation company, and getting there from downtown is easy.Renting a house in Ognina while attending the university therefore allows you to take classes effortlessly, while at the same time enjoying the beach life, so you can always feel a little bit on vacation.
Suburban areas of Catania have further lower prices. Neighborhoods, however, offer the services needed to have all conveniences, from supermarkets to stores. To spend even less money, one can consider renting a house in the province instead of in the city itself, of course putting into account spending more time on public transportation to get to the university.