Friday, June 20, 2014

First day in Catania (Sicily log 1)

Our impressions of Catania - especially after Sorrento - are not very favourable. In a sense, this is not surprising as Sorrento is a town geared for (British) tourism whereas Catania seems to be an ordinary town which just happens to be a port and near Mount Etna. The hotel where we are staying seems quite nice - certainly, the owners have invested in the decor and there is an inner atrium - but the area is not very salubrious. The only good thing which I can say in the location's favour is that the hotel is very close to the central train and bus stations.

There is a very interesting statue outside the train station called Fontana di Proserpina.
During the day, the statue looks forlorn, with birds hovering over or sitting on the statue. One gets the impression, though, that it looks much better at night. Certainly the fountains weren't working when we were there. Google Translate mangles some elegant Italian into the following: At the beginning of the 19th century, the municipal administration of Catania decided to build a fountain in the square outside the railway station; for this task was called the architect Giulio Moschetti, born in Ascoli but adozione. Moschetti of Catania was already in town, he was in fact working on the decorations of the Teatro Massimo Bellini, but gladly accepted this second assignment. Thus was born in 1904 the Fountain of Proserpine, a monumental sculptural group depicting the god Pluto, on a chariot drawn by horses and mermaids, in the act of tearing the earth Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. 
One good thing which can be said about Catania is that the food is much cheaper than in Sorrento.

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