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The eastern coast of Sicily may be dominated by Mount Etna, but there is so much to explore on this side of the beautiful Italian island, from small fishing villages to the energetic city of Catania and the enchanting town of Taormina. While our newest Sicily cooking vacation, Elegant Taormina and the Eastern Coast, is based in Taormina, it also takes guests along the beautiful coast.
On day three of the cooking vacation itinerary, visit the city center of Catania and explore one of the finest fish markets in all of Sicily, Mercato della Pescheria. While it’s called a fish market, it includes so much more than seafood — and it’s a feast of the senses! The sounds, smells, beautiful colors, and of course the tastes make this an amazing experience. In addition to the huge array of seafood on display — such as fresh lobster, sea urchins, mussels, and oysters, to name a few — you’ll fid meat, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, herbs, sweets, and nuts.
The square is packed with goodies. While you may not be purchasing ingredients for an Italian cooking class, you will have the opportunity to taste some delicious foods from the vendors! There are so many vendors in fact that they spill out onto the narrow alleys surrounding the square of Mercato della Pescheria.
After the fish market, you’ll explore the city of Catania, particularly the city’s cathedral. While the food market is packed with stalls and sounds, the big cathedral is elegant and a wonder to behold.
The cathedral itself hails from the early 1000s, although it’s been restored and redesigned, especially the outside facade, over the centuries due to the 1693 earthquake. This historical gem in Catania features a variety of styles, including a Baroque exterior as well as medieval windows. Many important figures in Italian history are buried here as well.
Catania is a gem of a city, and well worth a day trip during this Italian cooking vacation on Sicily’s Eastern coast.
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By Peg Kern
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Originally published August 23, 2012.