- 1 Workshop Venue
- 2 Travel Information
- 3 How to reach the venue
- 4 Accommodation
- 5 Social events
- 5.1 19.12.2019 | Social dinner
- 5.2 20.12.2019 | Guided walking tour in the historical city center of Catania
- 5.3 21.12.2019 | Excursion to Mount Etna
- 5.4 21.12.2019 | Alternative trip to Syracuse
Attention: change of building/room venue!
The 10th OPTICON Gaia Science Alerts Workshop is organized by INAF Astrophysical Observatory of Catania and is held in Catania (Sicily - Italy) at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) - LNS (Laboratori Nazionali del Sud) Department.
Workshop activities will take place in the “Sala Azzurra” (Azzurra Room), located on the first floor of the LSN Department.
INFN - Laboratori Nazionali del Sud (LNS)
Via S.Sofia 62, 95123
Catania is an ancient port city on the eastern coast of Sicily (Italy).
The city, located at the foot of volcano Etna, is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy and it is also a World Heritage Site, protected by UNESCO.
How to reach Catania
The best way to reach Catania is by plane.
Here there are information about the main airports of the area and the distance by car/bus from the city center.
- CATANIA FONTANAROSSA AIRPORT | +15min
The Fontanarossa International Airport is the closest airport to Catania.
Several airlines offer flights to many national and international destinations.
From Fontanarossa Airport is it possible to reach the City Center by Taxi or by Public transport.
LINKS: Position on Google Maps | Airport Website
- COMISO AIRPORT | +1h 40min
Comiso Airport is a small airport located in Comiso (Ragusa), mainly connected by Ryanair flights.
From Comiso Airport there is a bus (Autolinee Giamporcaro) every few hours to get to Catania Central Station.
LINKS: Bus timetable (Autolinee Giamporcaro) | Position on Google Maps | Airport Website
For further information on how to reach Catania by Train, by Bus and by Ferry, please see here.
How to reach Catania center from Fontanarossa Airport (and vice versa)
Catania Fontanarossa International Airport is the closest Airport to the city center. You can reach the downtown by taxi or bus.
- BY TAXI (recommended)
We recommend you to call Radio-taxi (+39 095 330966).
Call for a taxi (available h 24/24) when ready to leave the baggage claim area. The fare to the center is about €22, but you can ask for confirmation when you call. The airport to/from "Cittadella" University Campus rate is about €26.
Taxi picks you up in few minutes at the Airport on the Departure level (at the 1st floor): take the escalator or lift at your left after leaving the baggage claim area, then exit on the right and wait for your taxi.
- BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT (ALIBUS)
The AMT Alibus Bus Service leave every 25 minutes from 4:40 am to midnight, from the Airport to the City Center.
Bus ticket (€4) can be purchased: at the Airport; from authorized AMT retailers and AMT vending machines; on the bus; online with the UpMobile App. Remember to stamp the ticket upon getting on the bus.
At the Fontanarossa Airport we suggest you use the bus stop located outside the Terminal A at the Arrival level (at ground floor, on your right after the exit), as reported on the Airport Parking Map.
Please refer to the Alibus route and stops map to choose the bus stop closest to your Hotel.
LINKS: Alibus timetable – Price €4 | Alibus route and stops
How to reach the venue
The Workshop will be held at the "Azzurra" Room of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) - LNS Department, located in Via S. Sofia n.62, which is close to downtown but in the “Cittadella” University campus of Catania.
LINKS: Position on Google Maps
From the the city center to INFN (and vice versa)
From city center you can reach the INFN by public transport, such as Metro Shuttle and BRT1 Bus.
When you arrive to the INFN or leave the venue, for security reasons please REMEMBER to go to the Reception office, which is located at the entrance in Via S. Sofia n.62: here tell your name or show the ID written on your badge, so get your daily presence checked when you arrive and unchecked when you leave. The badge will speed-up operations.
- By Metro + Metro Shuttle (recommended)
The best way to reach Via Santa Sofia is by using the Metro. The closest metro stop to the INFN is the “Milo” Metro Station.
In the image the blue line indicates the Metro Shuttle path coming from "Milo" Metro Station to "Cittadella" University Campus, while the red line indicates the route of the Shuttle bus that returns back from Via Santa Sofia to the "Milo" Metro station.
- From the "Milo" Metro Station to Via Santa Sofia
You can take the free Metro Shuttle Bus to University just outside Milo Station and then get out at the “Cittadella Universitaria (Ovest)” bus stop (the first one in Via S. Sofia). You do not need any extra ticket, because the metro ticket allows you to use the shuttle too.
The metro trains have a frequency of one train every 10 minutes until 15:00; then the frequency will be one train every 15 minutes. The shuttles have frequency of a bus every 10 minutes.
- From Via Santa Sofia to the "Milo" Metro Station
If you want to reach the Metro Shuttle Bus Stop to come back to "Milo" Station, go to the entrance of INFN (Via S. Sofia n. 62) and then go towards the superior entrance (Via S. Sofia 64), enter and follow the road till the sign M-Bus (near the Math Department).
You do not need ticket to get on the Metro Shuttle, because the policy is that you will buy the metro ticket when you arrive to the "Milo" Metro Station.
LINKS: Metro Timetable – Price €1,00 (90 minutes) | Metro Shuttle Timetable | Map of the Metro and Shuttles route (in red: the metro route; in yellow: shuttle route)
- From the "Milo" Metro Station to Via Santa Sofia
- BRT1 BUS
The rapid bus BRT1 connects downtown to the entrance of the University Campus area (“Cittadella Universitaria (Ovest)” bus stop).
Because BRT1 is a circular line, you can take this bus to go from the INFN to downtown at the same bus stop.
Buy a ticket also for the return trip. There are no places where to buy a ticket close to the venue.
LINKS: BRT1 Timetable - €1.00 (90 minutes)
How to reach Sala Azzurra from the main entrance of the INFN
From the entrance of INFN, which address is Via S. Sofia n.62, the "Azzurra" Room gathers for a 3-minute walk.
The next image shows your way to reach the “Sala Azzurra” following the path from 1 to 10.
At the entrance (point 2) you MUST tell your name and your ID (written on your Badge) at the Reception, because they have the complete list of the participants and let you enter.
When you leave the INFN please REMEMBER to go back to the Reception office (point 2) and get your daily presence unchecked.
For further information on logistics, please see this file or contact our WOC staff at INAF Astrophysical Observatory of Catania:
Here it is a booking list on www.booking.com of suggested city center hotels and B&B that are close to Bus or Metro stops.
The Booking list offers the price for a double room by default: be careful to select the correct number of room guests before finalizing the reservation.
19.12.2019 | Social dinner
The Social Dinner will be held on Thursday 19th December h 20:00 at Materia Prima, in the city center of Catania.
Click here for the position of the restaurant on Google Maps
The dinner is fish-based, except for who are vegetarian and vegan, and it is offered by the Meeting WOC.
20.12.2019 | Guided walking tour in the historical city center of Catania
We are planning to organize a private walking tour of the historic center of Catania with an english-speaking guide on Friday afternoon.
Considering its status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, Catania is full of history and ancient monuments and today boasts a rich cultural and architectural heritage to be discovered.
The most remarkable landmarks are concentrated in the downtown area of Catania where, in addition to the Roman and Greek monuments, the streets are so attractive thanks to the magnificent Baroque architecture of the palaces, churches and monuments.
The appointment is at h 18.00 in Piazza Stesicoro (by the side where you can find the ruins of the Roman amphitheater).
Position on Google Maps of "Piazza Stesicoro"
21.12.2019 | Excursion to Mount Etna
We are are planning to organize an excursion on the Mount Etna for Saturday 21 December.
For more information about Mount Etna, see the Wikipedia webpage.
The appointment is at h 8.00 in Piazza Stesicoro (by the side where you can find the ruins of the Roman amphitheater).
Position on Google Maps of "Piazza Stesicoro"
An approximate itinerary of the excursion may be:
- 8:30 Leave Catania city center in the morning by bus to reach the Sapienza Refuge, which is located in the privileged position of 1.920 meters above sea level, at the highest point of arrival for cars and close to the Etna cable car facilities;
- 9:30 Arrival at the Sapienza Refuge
- 9:45 A guided tour (in English) of the area around Sapienza Refuge (within 200 m asl variation) or, for those who want to try a stronger experience, a trekking further up to 2.900 asl (depending on the Prefecture security prescriptions); for the fares of this second option, please see the section "Fares for excursion to Mount Etna"
- 13:00-14:30 Lunch in the Sapienza Refuge area;
- 15:00 Transfer by bus to Serra La Nave (1.735 m asl) for a visit to the station "M.G. Fracastoro" of the Catania Astrophysical Observatory, located on the southern slope of Mt. Etna volcano;
- 17:00 Return back to Catania about at 5:00 p.m.;
- 18:00 Arrival to Catania center.
Fares for excursion to Mount Etna
Transportation by bus from/to Catania and the guide for the tour around the Sapienza Refuge area are offered by the Meeting WOC.
All meals, the trip on the higher craters and what is not explicitly indicated are the responsibility of the participants.
Who wants to try a closer experience with craters in the morning can buy a ticket at Sapienza Refuge to go up to 2.900 asl with an organized tour that includes cab+unimog+guided tour: the fare is around €65. The price of the trip will depend on the number of interested people.
What you need to know before joining the excursion
- Mount Etna is the highest volcano in Europe (3.350 meters) and one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Following continuous eruptive activities, access beyond 2.920 meters asl ("Torre del Filosofo") is forbidden, as per the Ordinance of the Prefecture of Catania.
- The mountain requires specific clothing and accessories: trekking shoes, anoraks and also walking stick are recommended (they can be rented at the Sapienza Refuge). We suggest you also to get dressed in layers, in order to cope with sudden climatic changes, and to bring with you some food and water.
- This excursion is not recommended only for those who suffer from blood pressure, heart problems and asthma.
21.12.2019 | Alternative trip to Syracuse
In case of unfavorable weather conditions on the mountain, which in December could also foresee snow, an alternative could be a one-day trip to Syracuse.
Syracuse, a historic sicilian city covered in layers of white stone, is listed since 2005 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site because its monuments and archeological sites are charming example of different architectural and cultural historical periods, such as Greek, Roman and Baroque.
The trip itinerary is to be defined, but it may include:
- 8:30 Departure from Catania to Syracuse
- 10:00 Arrival to Syracuse and visit the Archaeological area with an English-speaking tourist guide;
- 13:00 Transfer by bus from Syracuse to Ortigia; lunch at Ortigia;
- 14:30 Guided tour (English spoken) of Ortigia, which may include:
- Neapolis archaeological park, which is a vast area featuring many important ancient buildings and structures, such as Roman theater, Greek theater, the altar of Hieron II and the Ear of Dionysius;
- the Syracuse market, where you can shop souvenirs and even buy some spices and herbs;
- the Ortigia Island and the Duomo Cathedral;
- 17:00 Return back to Catania;
- 18:00 Arrival at Catania center.
Fares for excursion to Syracuse
Transportation by bus from/to Catania is offered by the Meeting WOC.
All meals, tickets in the archeological sites and what is not explicitly indicated are the responsibility of the participants.