Via Crociferi (Via dei Crociferi)
Via Crociferi is both one of the oldest and one of the most picturesque roads in Catania’s historic center, considered a symbol of the city’s baroque glory. A number of top attractions are located along its short length (just over 600 feet), and walking tours of the old town generally include a visit to the Roman ruins inside the Parco Archeologico Greco-Romano di Catania at the south end of the street, stops at the 18th-century Sicilian baroque churches that line its length, and a stroll through Villa Cerami at the north end. Catania is known for its traditional street food, and many tours of the historic center pair highlights like Via Crociferi with samples of some of the local specialties from the nearby market vendors.
Things to know before you go
- Walking tours of Via Crociferi require a significant amount of time outdoors, so wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and a hat.
- If planning on stopping inside the beautiful historic churches on Via Crociferi, be sure to choose clothing that covers shoulders and knees.
- The street is accessible to wheelchair users, but a number of the Baroque churches along its length have steps at the entrance.
- Photography buffs will especially appreciate the ornate architecture and sweeping staircases lining the street.
How to get there
Via Crociferi is in the heart of Catania’s baroque historic center, running from the Convento dei Crociferi to Piazza San Francesco d’Assisi. The street is an easy walk from the Catania Centrale train station and most major sights.
When to get there
It’s a good idea to stroll the length of Via Crociferi in the early morning or late afternoon, both because the temperatures are milder and because many of the baroque churches along the street close briefly at midday.
Via Crociferi’s Baroque Gems
The 18th-century Arco di San Benedetto, part of the Church and Monastery of St. Benedict, spans the width of Via Crociferi and marks the beginning of the street. Just a short distance further down, the Church of St. Francesco Borgia turns heads with its two dramatic stone staircases, and, further on, the Jesuit College features its original cloister with elegant arches and lava-stone columns. Directly across the street, the Church of San Giuliano is attributed to the architect Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. The street’s Convento dei Crociferi and adjoining Church of St. Camillus, home to a Byzantine Madonna and Child, is also worth noting, as is Villa Cerami, one of the city’s most prestigious historic palaces and today home to the Catania University Faculty of Law.
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- San Benedetto Church (Chiesa San Benedetto)
- Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena (Monastero Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena)
- Catania Archaeological Park (Parco Archeologico Greco-Romano di Catania)
- Piazza Duomo
- Massimo Bellini Opera House (Teatro Massimo Bellini)
- Villa Bellini
- Ursino Castle (Castello di Ursino)
- Via Etnea
- Gambino Winery (Vini Gambino)