Catania is the second-largest city in Sicily, enjoying a location on the island's eastern shore, overlooked by the mighty Mount Etna. The city was originally settled - along with the rest of the island - by the Greeks in the 8th century BC. They ruled over Sicily for five centuries before the island was taken by Roman forces. Throughout this time the city had grown and thrived as a strategic port. By the time of the Renaissance, Catania had flourished into one of Italy's most important cultural and artistic centres; the period saw Sicily's first university open in the city, and an array of beautiful baroque palaces were constructed in this time.
Today Catania is still among the most prominent of Italy's cities, and is now known as a hub of commerce and tourism on the island of Sicily. And with its beautiful Roman remains, distinctive black-and-white-stoned palaces and rich cultural legacy - in addition to the magnificent surrounding landscape - it is not difficult to see why.