Catania is the second biggest city in Sicily - around 300.000 inhabitants and at the same time the main city in the provins Catania.
The location of the city so close to the vulcano, Etna, has had great influence of the history of Catania. A big eruption of Etna in the year 1669
followed by an earthbreak in 1693 destroyed large parts of the city.
When the French Bourbon-family was ruler of Naples and Sicily in the 18th century Catania as well as Naples became influenced by the same way of city-planning expressed in the large boulevards and the spacy squares you find in both cities. Another thing in common for Naples and Catania are for the inhabitants of both cities to live with the behaviour of the vulcanos - good as well as bad: the splendid fertility of the land from the ashes and for the next moment the destruction of everything build by man from an eruption! Naples has Vesuva which destroyed Pompei in 24th August 79 AC and Catania has Etna, though more activ than Vesuva.
Catania is more streamlined - more industrialized than Palermo - and less caotic! There are good flight connections from Catania Airport to other parts of Italy and abroad. Besides, there are buses frequently to Palermo.
15 km (10 miles) further north of Catania and closer to Etna you find the town Acireale with around 57.000 inhabitants.
The town is placed 161 m (500 feet) o.s.l. on a plateau made from lava. The earth rich in lava keeps the water better than other places on Sicily. This
gives good possibilities for agriculture and cultivation of fruit and vegetables. North of Acireale there are big cultivations of lemons.
Every year in March there is a carnival in the town. This carnival is well-known all over Sicily and has been celebrated since 1594.
Even the area is optimal for cultivation of grain, fruit and vegetables the main income for the town comes from tourism and restaurants.
A speciality from Acireale: Almond-granita (a sort of sorbet) in a brioche is sold all over the town.
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