La domus romana (ph.Giovanna Gagliano)
5 – The Kiosks of Catania
They are an old and current attraction of Catania. To drink “u cioscu” (at the kiosk) represents a meeting place with a neighbourhood identity, with a history, that of Catania. A place for refreshments and meetings day and night, for all ages, the symbol of the daily life of this city.
There are the stands at piazza Roma square, in piazza Cavour, in piazza della Borsa, to name those in the centre but the most famous are those located in Piazza Umberto, a stone’s throw away from the fera o’ luni, the market of Catania.
The history of the kiosks dates back to the 1800’s when in Catania, street vendors offered a drink “water and zammù”, i.e. water with a few drops of anise, to refresh and quench the people of Catania during hot weather.
The ingredients and instruments are the same as always: sugar, fruit, mixers, cups, measuring cups and presses to squeeze the citrus fruits.
Today, sparkling water coming from the slopes of Etna is added to the mineral water, and to the syrups and soda water. Often they are the same Catanese “cioscari” that produce Sicilian citrus fruit syrups for making drinks with mandarin, tamarind, the famous orzata (orgeat) syrup, or the famous “sciampagnino” (citron juice with water and soda water), and the “completo” (orzata, fresh lemon juice, anise and soda water). It is the traditional drink made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, with the addition of soda water and a generous dollop of salt: the effect is highly refreshing and aids digestion.
6 – Subterranean Catania
How many wonders are hidden under the city! Mount Etna, with its rivers of lava, has engulfed Catania several times, burying signs of its past but they still remain hidden under the surface.
The Achillee Thermal Baths, the Spas of Indirizzo, of Rotonda, the Roman Amphitheatre, one of the largest of the Roman period in Italy, second only to the amphitheather Flavio Rome (Colosseum), and that of Verona; the church of S. Gaetano alle Grotte, whose date is still a mystery today, with its underground tunnels, perhaps once used as catacombs, where it is believed he was buried the body of St. Agata; Benedictine Monastery and its “belly”, the Decumanus Maximus, the Roman Domus and even the kitchens of the Benedictines; the Tomb of S.Euplio, the ingrottamento dell’Amenano, the Roman Hypogeum also said “Hypogeum square”, the Well of Gammazita and its fascinating legend, the Crypt and wash houses of S. Agata la Vetere the first cathedral in the city, where the martyr suffered removal of the udder, the Baths of the Gladiators at St. Agata al Carcere and the Bonajuto Chapel, Bizantine monument immersed in the heart of Catanese Baroque.