7 must see parks in Catania

Published by: BouncePosted

Catania is the second largest city in Sicily, Italy, and covers an area of about 180 square kilometers. Sitting on the edge of the Ionian Sea close to the base of the volcano Mount Etna, Catania is surrounded by some incredible natural landscapes. Being located under the shadow of a volcano provides the city with fertile soil but also leaves it vulnerable to eruptions that have already destroyed the city twice.

After the catastrophes in 1169 and 1693, the city was rebuilt a few times but has still managed to preserve its impressive cultural heritage. Throughout the years, Catania has been occupied by the Spanish, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Bourbons, and the whole city center is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Museums, shopping and street food in Catania are also city highlights.

Catania is surrounded by natural beauty no matter which direction you look with pristine blue seas and lush greenery all over town. If you're vacationing in the city or living there, you'll see many nature parks and green spaces that you can visit. Their presence brings life to the area and allows you to relish nature. Stop by these parks in Catania, but first, make your way to a Bounce luggage storage facility. Drop off items you don't want to carry around all day. We'll take care of your backpacks and bags while you see the sights.

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Parco Archeologico di Catania e della Valle dell'Aci

Get ready to dive into the city's landscape, literature, archeology, and artistic history at the Archaeological and Landscape Park of Catania and the Aci Valley. The park encompasses several locations throughout the area, both in the Enna territory and the metropolitan city of Catania. Come here to explore different cultures and monuments that make up this interesting city, including remnants from the Roman ages. Some landmarks you'll discover while exploring the park include the Amphitheater, the Odeon, the Terme dell'Indirizzo, the Ancient Theater, and the Terme della Rotonda.

The Ancient Theater is one of the most impressive attractions and sits on a space that is said to have been occupied during prehistoric times. You'll see traces of structures that have been around since the time of the Greeks although the building you see standing here today dates back to the Roman times. It's gone through several phases of construction during its lifetime, with the first happening as early as the 1st century AD, each making it more grand. The Odeon also dates back to this time and is where events and performances, like concerts and poetry readings, used to be held.

There's much more to see if you continue on in the Aci Valley, including artifacts and handicrafts from the imperial age—the beautiful SS. Annunziata di Mascali church complex will wow you with its intricate mosaics and details from medieval times. To learn more about the area and its history, check out the different museums, like the Museum of Ceramics of Caltigirone, the Centuripe Museum, and the Adrano found in the Norman castle.

Parco dell'Etna

Also known as the Etna Regional Park or just simply Etna Park, this public space will bring you up close to the famous volcano that represents the area of Sicily. The natural park was founded in 1987 and is one of the first nature reserves in the region. Thanks to the frequent lava flows, the park's landscape is always changing, and it's also an important protected space for wildlife. Etna Park comprises various landscapes ranging from the sea to the forests. In total, it covers 59,000 hectares of land.

This park was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 and is a must-visit spot for anyone traveling in the city. It's fairly close to Catania and the A18 Messina-Catania motorway, making it easily accessible. There are plenty of nature trails around Mount Etna, and you'll learn a bit about volcanic activity here. Some of the most incredible places in the park are the 200 caves of lava flows and the four craters at the volcano's summit; you can reach the latter either by taking a cable car to the top or following a guided tour that will lead you up by foot.

During the wintertime, Mount Etna turns into an alpine park, allowing cross-country skis, snowshoes, axes, and crampons on the slopes. Nearby shops and restaurants offer souvenirs made of lava stones and delicious meals cooked using local specialties like sausages, mushrooms, honey, pistachios, strawberries, and wine. While adventuring through the park, you'll admire incredible plant species that thrive in the volcanic environment, and the forests are great for birdwatching. There's a chance you'll spot other small creatures like rabbits, hedgehogs, foxes, wild cats, and porcupines.

Villa Bellini

Villa Bellini is proudly the oldest of all urban Catania parks. Today, gorgeous gardens stand here, but before that, the space held a botanical maze and was the property of the prince of Biscari, Ignazio Paterno Castello. When the Comune di Catania bought the property in 1854, they decided to make some changes, and the land was turned into public gardens in 1864.

The space was expanded further after the municipality bought more land in 1875. Today, it's a place for sports, entertainment, and relaxation, with plenty of places to sit when you get tired and even a restaurant nearby. The Villa Bellini gardens are home to various species of plants, some of which are exotic or very old. The best spot to catch views of the city and the landscape around Etna is at the end of the "Uomini Illustri" avenue, which is the highest point in the park.

Everyone can agree that these gardens are absolutely beautiful. The space is very clean, with perfectly manicured hedges and grassy areas, a central fountain, and a small sheltered gazebo with lights and a chandelier. Fun fact: during the '60s, the park had a small zoo. It housed swans, snakes, reptiles, monkeys, and Indian elephants, but due to financial restrictions, the zoological part of the park was removed.

Parco di Nebrodi

The Parco di Nebrodi is one of Catania's most spectacular nature reserves and the biggest at 860 square kilometers. Some consider it to be the city's green lung, and it's a significant habitat for many wildlife species. About half of the forest land in Catania is part of this park, and nearly 70 kilometers of land are made up of mountains.

Parco di Nebrodi also encompasses a large number and variety of wetlands, from ponds and springs to streams and marshes. With so much to see in the water and on land, this Catania park is a great place to participate in different outdoor activities. Reserve the entire day so you can try trekking and canoeing around the grounds, follow along on a guided tour, or check out all other on-site excursions.

Three main routes make up the trails of the park, each one offering different landscapes and sights. The treks can take several hours to explore, some of them taking as long as 8 hours. Be prepared to be out in the wild for a while and pack lots of food and water. If you don't want to follow a trail, visit some of the park's main natural attractions. Discover the Waterfalls of Mistretta, Lake Biviere, Mount Soro, the Forest of the Tassita, the Waterfall of Catafurco, Rocche del Crasto, and Lake Maulazzo.


Radicepura is a flashy and multipurpose botanical park in Catania. In its 5 hectares of space, it houses 3,000 unique species of flora from all over the world. Some examples include the Australian Xanthorrhoea johnsonii and the Asian Moringa oleifera, both said to be a futuristic superfood. There are several terraces throughout the gardens, where you can find each family of plants.

There's the Terrace of Cactaceae and Succulents, the Amity's Terrace at the bottom of the slopes, the Terrace of Diamonds, which is where you can see some of the rarest species in the park, and many more housing citrus plants and species from across the globe. The grounds also have many trees, some very large, that offer shaded spots for you to rest.

Strolling through this park is like walking through a museum since the land is dotted with art installations. The area with citrus fruits is decorated with a marble and lava stone mosaic designed by Adrian Paci and covers 140 square meters. There's also the Grandi Fossili created by Alfio Bonanno, which depicts oversized relics and huge shells, and there's the composition of Frederico Baronello that explores primary colors. It's a fantastic spot to take a photo.

Riserva Naturale Orientata La Timpa

The La Timpa Natural Reserve is made up of an incredible rocky landscape and features some pretty cool natural phenomena. You'll get to see centuries-old stratified lava ridges up close, with different layers originating from eruptions throughout the years. The lighter layers of rock sedimentation are older, and the darker ones are more recent.

The entire reserve is filled with life and greenery, including wild olives, lemon trees, mastic trees, and ivy that's taken over the landscape. Make your way down to the crystal clear water and you'll find the pebble beach where some people like to go swimming or to sit and tan. It's a beautiful location to stop and enjoy the gorgeous landscape.

The park's plants and trees make it an important habitat and nesting spot for several species of birds. This gives plenty of opportunities for birdwatching, so pack your camera and binoculars. The Riserva Naturale Orientata La Timpa was officially declared one of Catania's nature reserves in 1999.

Parco Monte Serra

When planning your trip to the parks in Catania, remember to include Parco Monte Serra on your list. This park is located at a height of about 450 meters and is close to the bottom of the Etna hills. The parkland covers the territory around Mount Serra, a volcanic crater shaped like a horseshoe and filled with nature trails.

The entire space that makes up the park is rich in nature and life, with woods of oak trees and well-maintained paths that will bring you through open spaces with sprawling fields. The Parco Monte Serra is a lovely park to discover in the summer. Keep your eye out for small critters and insects while you're here. You might see butterflies fluttering around the plants depending on what time you visit.

Parco Monte Serra is now a protected nature area, having been founded as a suburban park in 1999. The Parco Monte Serra Association, in cooperation with Friends of the Earth and generous volunteers, is in charge of maintaining the nature reserve.

Admire the beauty of Catania, Italy

If you're a nature enthusiast, these parks, gardens, and nature reserves in Catania can't be missed. These spaces offer much to the people of Catania by preserving plants, providing homes for wildlife, and creating gorgeous landscapes.

Many of these parks have hiking trails that will take you past breathtaking viewpoints and natural wonders. They're the perfect place to hike; if you want to know more about the trails, read this guide on the Best Hikes in Catania. Being right on the coast of the Ionian Sea, Catania also has incredible coastal landscapes. Learn more about them in our list of the Best Beaches Near Catania.

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