This was our second trip to Catania, the first trip was an introduction to this Eastern Sicilian city, punctuated by day trips to Mt Etna and Syracuse. We enjoyed our trip there, so when we found out our MSC cruise was departing from Messina (one and a half hours north by train), we booked an overnight stay in Catania, the easiest and closest place for us both to fly into (Chris from London and me from Rome).
B&B Cianciana was the second place I booked in Catania, I cancelled the first as it was too close to the train station and overlooked a busy main street. The B&B on the other hand was set a couple of streets back so I figured it would be quieter. The place seemed to be newly renovated and only had a few reviews on booking.com but they were very positive.
On arrival I was greeted by Danilo who ushered me in from the heat of the street into a cool, calm palace-like building with a marble staircase. We headed up to the 3rd floor, and through to a reception room, him kindly lugging my bag, and giving all the details I needed to get settled in. We went through the three different keys, all very easy, and the breakfast times etc.
I was struck by Danilo’s personable manner, he was certainly a host with the most, and I could tell that he would do his utmost to make sure his guests were comfortable and treated well. For example, check in is usually at 3pm but he came to the B&B early to let me in as I’d messaged him to ask if it was possible.
The bijou B&B was charming (just a few rooms on one floor) but the room we were given was even more of a pleasant surprise, with a high decorated ceiling, big queen sized bed, a desk, lots of storage, and a wee balcony with French doors. The ensuite bathroom was small but serviceable with complimentary toiletries, sizeable shower and heated towel rail. I relaxed for the afternoon in my oasis and had a refreshing nap in the air conditioned room (a big plus when Catania gets so hot in summer).
Later, I heard a loudspeaker on the street below and poked my head out the window. For all the times I’ve been in Italy I’ve seen a religious procession maybe once, but now there was one apparently taking place right outside. A statue of the Virgin Mary emerged from a nearby building and was carted down the street with a small band of followers. A loudspeaker announced the procession with ‘Ave Maria’ blaring repetitively as it made it’s way down to the end of the street and disappeared from view. A chance encounter indeed!
We were greeted by Danilo the next morning who ushered us up a spiral staircase and into the breakfast room. This was small, but laid out with a good selection of cereals, bread, yoghurt, fruit etc. The eating was done on the balcony terrace which could fit two couples at a pinch. Another couple were already there when we arrived.
We helped ourselves to the buffet and Danilo thoughtfully offered to cook us scrambled eggs, Sicilian style, which were delicious and the perfect way to start the day. Reluctantly we checked out and bid our new friend farewell to catch our train to Messina. With just a short hop to the Catania Central train station with our luggage, it topped off our reasoning that the B&B really was the best place to stay in the whole of Catania.
Pros & Cons
Would I Go Back?
Definitely, B&B Cianciana is such a gem I was patting myself on the back for finding it, and the generous hospitality of Danilo made it even more of a find.