The Top 8 Must-See Museums in Catania, Italy

Aubrey Martin

Catania is the second largest city in Sicily and is a central hub for prominent and enduring works of art, architecture, and scholarship. While traversing this magnificent province, be sure to visit the best possible museums that cater to every breed of art connoisseur. Each one showcases a different aspect of Catania’s history, passion, and culture.

1. Museum of Contemporary Art Sicily

Art Gallery, Museum

Contemporary Museum of Art
© Aubrey Martin
Tucked into a picturesque alleyway, steps away from the bustling city center, this museum is hard to find, but it is certainly worth the effort. The Museum of Contemporary Art Sicily houses a variety of unique and exquisite collections. With perfect and meticulous lighting on each individual piece, as well as a clean, quiet atmosphere, it’s easy to get lost in the variety. From translucent glass-blown sculptures to an assortment of vivid oils and acrylic paintings, all art lovers will be appeased.

2. Chiesa San Benedetto


Chiesa San Benedetto
© Aubrey Martin
A few strides from the Museum of Contemporary Art, you will find Chiesa San Benedetto. The building itself is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture dating to the early 18th century and is an artistic trademark of Catania. Discover the original layout of the ancient structure, explore historic artifacts and ascend the divine Staircase of Angels that leads to the church entrance. Inside the chapel, you will be absorbed by the vibrant and intense ceiling and golden alter. Learn about the distinguished artist, Giovani Tuccari of Messina, who painted the interior fresco, and admire the enchanting atmosphere.

3. Museo Emilio Greco


Museo Emilio Greco
© Aubrey Martin
Occupying the aesthetic Piazza San Francesco D’Assisi, the Museo Emilio Greco will acquaint you with the unique and diverse style of the eponymous artist. View his etchings, lithographs, and sculptures, as well as works by some of his influences. Gain knowledge about the artist and his well-rooted history in Catania. Navigate through the skillfully organized rooms, bright stairwells, and terraces of this stunning collection and building.

4. Museo Civico Belliniano

Nestled in beside the Museo Emilio Greco is the former residence of Vincenzo Bellini, one of the most celebrated musicians of Sicily. Walk through this monumental artist’s childhood home, and go back through history to revisit the early 19th century. Discover the timeline of the renowned maestro, his early motivations and development. Sectioned chronologically from room to room, visitors can examine artifacts, memorabilia, early works, and dedications to one of the most widely revered and famous composers, opera singers, and artists of Sicily.

Museo Civico Belliniano, Piazza S. Francesco, 3, Catania CT, Italy, +39 095 715 0535

Museo Civico Belliniano | © Aubrey Martin

5. Castello Ursino

Archaeological site, Historical Landmark

Castello Ursino
© Aubrey Martin
This majestic 13th century castle not only provides incredible views of the city, but it also possesses some of the most timeless pieces of art in the region. With four floors, this stately gallery draws you into a captivating realm of antiquity. It features ancient Roman busts, priceless oil paintings by Caravaggio and other well-known Italian artists and contains an open-air courtyard with intricately carved walls and the remnants of discarded Roman and Greek columns. Lastly, it serves as a hotel with a halcyon apartment available for booking if you are intrigued by staying in a perennial masterpiece.

6. Archaeological Complex Terme Della Rotonda

Archaeological site, Historical Landmark

Terme della Rotonda
© Aubrey Martin
Sandwiched between the narrow lanes of Catania and slanted Italian dwellings is the quaint but enticing Terme della Rotonda. The distinctive design of the structure, built between the 1st and 2nd century AD, originally served as a Roman spa. Entry is free, so you can meander through the original space and find yourself on the floor of the main complex, enthralled by the interior frescoes and ancient art that cover the walls and base of the dome. The original blueprints for the building are on display with a guide of its dated layout.

7. The Odeon Amphitheater

Archaeological site, Ruins

Teatro Greco Romano Odeon
© Aubrey Martin / Culture Trip
Originally a Greek theatre, rebuilt by Romans to resemble their differing design, this massive complex recreates the age of ancient dramas and battles. Not only can you pace the tiered stadium made almost entirely of lava rocks, you can also course through the entire interior, which is lined with discarded pillars, balusters, and sculptures. Get lost in the inner maze, and discover clandestine entries and exits to the sunken foundation of the structure where aquatic wars were once re-enacted. After, you can explore the area, now converted into a seminar space and the luxurious apartment with original furnishings, utilities and art.

8. Catania Museum of Cinema


This charming gallery retells the story of cinema in Catania and its contributions to the world of film during the early 20th century. The space is a whimsical sphere of film appreciation where visitors explore the multitude of historical documents and equipment on display that are part of the analysis of the role Sicily played in early cinematography. The recreated apartments belonged to scenes of famous films, vintage lighting tools, classical movie posters, and snaps from various movie sets through the years. Relive the varying eras that existed within the majestic realm of cinema and it’s tether to the history of Sicily culture.

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