Catania’s largest park is one of the city’s most tranquil spots – a vast expanse of greenery laced with scenic walkways and dotted with pavilions, elaborate flower gardens and hilltop viewpoints that look out over the city center below. Named after illustrious Catanese composer Vincenzo Bellini, Villa Bellini opened its doors in 1883 and is today regarded as one of Italy’s most exquisite public gardens.
The park is best known for its rich botanical variety, with pathways shaded by sprawling fig trees and towering palms, and more than 100 varieties of plants and flowers brightening up the gardens. Additional highlights of the Villa Bellini include the central fountain and floral clock; the Avenue of Illustrious Men, which is lined with busts of historic Italian figures, including a bronze statue of Giuseppe Mazzini; and the hilltop bandstand, which hosts regular concerts throughout the summer months.
Villa Bellini is located on Via Etnea, just north of central Catania, and is open daily from 6am to 9pm. Admission is free.