Teatro Massimo Bellini

Top choice in Catania

Completed in 1890 and made for homegrown composer Vincenzo Bellini, Catania's opera house is suitably lavish, from the stucco-and-marble extravagance of the foyer (dubbed the ridotto) to the glory of the theatre itself, wrapped in four tiers of gilded boxes. Its painted ceiling, by Ernesto Bellandi, depicts scenes from four of Bellini’s best-known operas. The Associazione Guide Turistiche Catania (www.guidecatania.it; info@guidecatania.it) runs 45-minute guided tours; email to book a tour and call ahead to confirm times as the theatre isn't always open.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Catania attractions

1. Palazzo Sangiuliano

0.13 MILES

Designed by the great baroque architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini, this elegant 18th-century palazzo flanks the eastern edge of Piazza dell'Università.

2. Chiesa Badia di Sant'Agata

0.13 MILES

With an elegant concave-convex facade reminiscent of Borromini, this 18th-century church was designed by Palermitan architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini…

3. Cattedrale di Sant'Agata

0.14 MILES

Inside the vaulted interior of this cathedral, beyond its impressive marble facade sporting two orders of columns taken from the Roman amphitheatre, lie…

4. Via Etnea

0.18 MILES

It's not difficult to see how Catania's main shopping street got its name – on a clear day you can see Mt Etna rising majestically at the end of it. Via…

5. Palazzo dell'Università

0.19 MILES

Flanking the western edge of Piazza dell'Università, this handsome palazzo includes a courtyard designed by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. The building…

6. Palazzo degli Elefanti

0.19 MILES

Standing at the northern end of Unesco-lauded Piazza del Duomo, the 'Palace of the Elephants' is Catania's town hall. The building's eastern, southern and…

7. Museo Diocesano

0.19 MILES

The most obvious reason to visit this museum, adjacent to Catania's duomo, is to see the Fercolo, the famous silver reliquary bust of Saint Agata that's…

8. Piazza del Duomo


A Unesco World Heritage Site, Catania's central piazza is a set piece of contrasting lava and limestone, surrounded by buildings in the unique local…