Melting in Sicily – Catania & Then Home

Day Five – Around Catania

It took us a while before we actually did Catania properly. It did not matter that we were all sore from the previous jaunt in Agrigento since we wanted to do the city justice… despite waiting four days to actually to do this. We decided to go on a walk around the city following a pre-made route on the map to see all the Baroque sites in the city, which basically meant a church walk.

We started off just off the Piazza Duomo which meant a visit to both the Duomo and the Badia di Sant’Agata. Compared to a lot of Catholic churches I have seen the Duomo was nowhere near as ornate, but it did contain the preserved remains of a Cardinal on show which is something I have not seen before.

Now whilst we did see a number of interesting sites on this walk but there are two I want to pick out.

Firstly there was the Greco-Roman theatre which is pretty much hidden from view since, until very recently, it provided the foundations for a number of houses. The renovation work that is currently going on here is extraordinary since they are actively restoring it. In the very hot weather we could see the workers laying down slabs for the seating. At the moment the work is astounding so one can only imagine what it will be like when they are finished. I look forward to that day so I can return and see that for myself.

Then there was the Church of San Benedetto which stands as one of the most beautiful houses of worship I have ever been inside (alongside St. Peter’s in the Vatican City and the Basilica of St Francis in Assisi). As you enter the main part of the church you have the Angel Steps which instantly made me think of how much I am looking forward to playing Bayonetta 2 since the statues were so perfect it looked as if they could spring to life at any given moment.Then there was the interior which was painted head to toe in murals. Most of them depicted the life of Saint Benedict (including one of him smashing an ancient temple because of the pagan images… that angered me somewhat) but also featured were pieces from the lives of other saints including local favourite Saint Agatha.

I could just post a lot of these pictures but, like most things, it is so much more rewarding to see it in the flesh, so I am going to leave it here and talk about the last entries in my Sicilian food diary.

Food item: Pane Siciliano

This was the second of two Sicily specific items I wanted to specifically find whilst I was there and, for a signature regional bread, it took a long time to come across. Maybe that’s because of the lack of bakeries on the main streets though since once we took a different route then there were three in a row. The bread itself was lovely with a slight peanut taste due to the large number of sesame seeds on top. It was at its best when it was warm and at 55¢ for two rolls (which the baker was not happy about having to break a 10€ note for).

Food item: Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Not going to say much about this one since I think every single dinner would have been loaded with this but this is the only time I was able to get photographic proof of it being used. It was gorgeous over a Caprese salad with some balsalmic vinegar.

Food item: Gianduja

Another list item that I had in the form of a frozen dessert, here is was a gianduja gelato. I had not heard of this before but it tasted like a better version of Nutella or the inside bit of a Ferrero Rocher. It turns out that I was right on both counts since gianduja was their predecessor. As delicious as this rich chocolate-hazelnut  was it was too rich for me to finish (I mean it was basically a spreadable ice cream truffle) so I ate half and swapped with my fiancee to finish off his straciatella… yum.

Day Six – Going Home

Not going to dwell too much on the trip home since, despite all the negative reviews, there was nothing too eventful about the way home on the 11am flight. Well, our flight was delayed for 20 minutes because someone’s carry on luggage was infested with ants and they had to bring in a clean up crew in to clean the overhead compartments. That was a weird end to a good holiday.

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