There are 58 small towns in the province which covers 3,552 square kilometres and over a million inhabitants. Catania is situated at the foot of Europe's largest active volcano. Mount Etna has played an important role in the city’s history. The patron saint Agatha is especially important. A year after her death, in 252, Mount Etna was erupting and lava was rapidly approaching the city. The frightened citizens carried her veil to where the lava was flowing - and it miraculously stopped!
The city’s devotion to Saint Agatha, is celebrated from the 3rd to the 5th of February by a procession of “Candelore”, huge candles carried by the devotees, preceded by a wooden chandelier where are portrayed scenes of the saint’s martyrdom. The Saint, in her carriage is then pulled through the streets with ropes by her devotees carrying large candles and dressed in their white nightshirts just as they had done on that night.
This is the world's largest catholic religious festival with over 2.500.000 participants celebrating Saint Agatha during the days of the festa.
Catania is the birth-place of illustrious figures, such as the composer Vincenzo Bellini and writer Giovanni Verga , and boasts an important culinary tradition that owes much to the province’s thriving agriculture. Much appreciated are the pizzas and the scacciate and the seafood and fish cuisine.