Catania, with its 320,000 residents (and more than 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area), is the main industrial, logistical and commercial centre of Sicily and the second largest Sicilian city. Located on the east coast of the Italian island, Catania is more known for its volcano than for its meetings industry. However, Catania’s recognition on the congress map has been rapidly growing. Conference delegates can expect to find tasty Mediterranean delights such as sun-ripened fruits and vegetables, almond pastries, chiosci (kiosks) offering several types of aniseed beverages, and its diverse range of seafood served in numerous places spanning from simple local eateries to high-end modern restaurants. Then there’s the city’s sandy beaches that stretch for kilometres, and its incredible architecture, which has earned Catania a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as one of the Late Baroque towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily), and Mount Etna, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which silently and protectively rises above the city’s horizons. Catania’s kind and welcoming spirit, range of cuisine, landscape, cultural and historical heritage, coastline and perfect Mediterranean climate make it a must see and must experience MICE destination.
NEED TO KNOW 2018
There are countless special venues with extremely rich history and beautiful settings. The Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò, protected by UNESCO and today home to part of the University of Catania, holds events in its many rooms. The Teatro Massimo Bellini opera house is famous for having a river running beneath it, which makes it one of the best acoustic venues in the world. Pallazzo Biscari, dating back to the 17th century, is where the Prince of Biscari still lives with his family. And last but not least, a prestigious building dating from the last century, that has been restored according to local traditions and Sicilan style – UNA Hotel Palace 4*.
WHAT'S HOT 2018
Catania hosts annually between 800 to 900 congresses and corporate events. However, when including the local CME (Continuing Education in Medicine) courses that are compulsory for all the health professionals in Italy, the number gets much higher. When accounting for all these professional courses (for example, one hotel in Catania confirmed 1.100 events during 2017 from which 50-60% were represented by CME meetings), then there are between 3300 and 3500 events held in Catania per year.
ARE Energy Access Investment Forum / 13-15 March 2018
The annual ARE Forum has become the key milestone event in spring where the clean energy off-grid sector gathers together. Participants from all over the world identify and get introduced to the most interesting actors to present their own business proposals.
- Venue: Grand Hotel Villy Itria 4* / 265 delegates
The 3rd EUSAIR Forum / 24-25 May 2018
The 3rd Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) focuses on the Connectivitiy issues, especially on challenges and opportunities for Transport and Energey networks in the EUSAIR Region.
- Venue: Benedictine Monastery, Catania / 700 delegates
“Geosciences for the environment, natural hazard and cultural heritage” / 12-14 September 2018
The joint Congress is organised by the Italian GEological Society /SGI) and the Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology /SIMP) and is the privileged place for the meeting of the different actors operating in the world of Geosciences.
- Venue: Benedictine Monastery, Catania / 200 delegates
XXXIV Congresso Nazionale Forense / 4-6 October 2018
The National Forensic Council (Coonsiglio Nazionale Forense – CNF) organizes the National Congress of Forensics (Congresso Nazionale Forense) as a moment of analysis, reflection and proposition on the condition of the justice system and on the constitutional and juridical law.
- Venue: Benedictine Monastery, Catania / 1500 delegates
The 5th European Airway Management Congress / 4-7 December 2018
EAC 2018, the Congress of EAMS – the pan-European medical Society focusing on improving the management of the patient’s airway by anesthetists and critical care personnel.
- Venue: Four Points by Sheraton Catania 4* / 300 delegates
BEST INCENTIVE IDEA
The Myda cooking school is where the acclaimed chef Loredana Crisafi teaches cooking classes in a modernly equipped kitchen. Another great chance to find out about Catanian food and its hidden treasures is the Streaty Tour that takes participants on a tasting tour of Catanian food. And, of course, a necessary visit to ‘Mama Etna’. In winter it is possible to ski on its slopes, while all-year-round 4×4 jeeps with experienced guides from Etna Finder take participants on an off-road adventure to see the hidden corners of Etna and its lava valleys. Particularly sought-for are the spectacular and famous evening trekking tours to see Etna’s eruptions (what, opposite to what one might think, rarely happens).
On the way down, it is possible to stop at one of the cellars, scattered around Etna’s slopes, that stretch from dense green forests to dark volcanic caves, from fertile fields and vineyards to the Star Wars-like lava desert, and get some Etna Rosso or Etna Bianco – wines from vineyards that grow in the fertile black volcanic soil that gives them a distinctive taste. A truly rare delight.
BEST KEPT SECRETS
Etna serves its residents so well that one of the villages on its slopes is known for having one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world – the average age in the village is 95! This is thought to be connected to its Mediterranean climate, nutritious food, good wine and siestas. Etna, though, not only provides good soil, but its unique biodiversity also provides a home to many hundreds of animal species, as well as the locals who live in its shadow.
VOICES OF CATANIA
Daniela Marino, Sicilia Convention Bureau