The last year or so has witnessed a period of tremendous upheaval for the entire world. In common with many of the world’s tourist destinations, Catania has transformed before our eyes as tourism dried up and lockdowns were enforced.
City streets that thronged with locals and visitors emptied, markets that resonated to the cries of vendors echo now as masked shoppers continue about their daily lives seeking some semblance of normality, monuments and museums – once filled with admiring visitors trying to capture the definitive picture – now silent.
We experienced a brief, but intense, summer in 2020 – opening while we could, welcoming guests with COVID secure practises in place, reminiscing about summers past. Then, as autumn rolled around we found ourselves closed once again, wondering, along with the rest of the world, when we might see a
return to normality.
We resolved to use the time we have been closed to transform the hostel. Significant cosmetic improvements have been made to the entire hostel. From the moment you enter the hostel the transformation begins. What was once a somewhat cramped reception area is now a plant-filled foyer, where you will find our bikes, and e-scooters, for hire.
Turning left you enter our new, spacious reception where you can check-in, check-out, request information and assistance. Beyond that our breakfast, and snacks, bar where you can order hot drinks, beers, breakfast extras, snacks and soft drinks. There are seats and tables and our new secure luggage facility. Here too, you will note the profusion of plants, the decorative flourishes – such as our new Elephant mural, and repurposed, upcycled “luggage” bookshelves.
The following two rooms are social areas which, like reception, boast spectacular,and historically important frescoes upon the ceilings. The vibrant plant-theme continues as you pass through the breakfast room into a common area which can also be a meeting, or events, room.
Beyond this the dormitories have all benefited from a sprucing up. All external doors, from reception, around to the dorms on Piazza Universita, have been sanded, treated, repainted and – where necessary repaired.
Internally, doors have been redecorated to bring a little more colour into the hostel.
Immediately upon reopening we will be able to offer super-fast WiFi to our guests – wherever you are in the hostel.
We also hope to offer luggage storage, laundry and drying facilities, bike and e-scooter hire, light refreshments and coworking spaces to both our guests and other visitors to the city, at competitive rates, while giving access to this historical palace in the centre of the old city.
We have also created a blog on our website, as well as updating, and generally refreshing the look and feel. You can now read articles on the city, on things to do, places to visit, learn a little history and read about one of the world’s largest street festivals – an annual event here which takes place in February – not to mention a retelling of the legend of the Elephant.
Catania is a city with phoenix-like properties. Each civilisation has built a city, contributed a layer to the archeological record. Each set-back has been met with an ever-stronger resurgence as the city reinvents itself, ever determined to assert its place on this eastern outpost of the Mediterranean’s largest island.
The foundations for a revival are in place – all that’s missing is you! We await you with open arms.
Together let’s help put the isolation, and losses of the pandemic firmly behind us as we celebrate the beauty and charm of this ancient city, the pleasures of its beaches, the spectacular vistas of the dramatic mountain, and the culinary wonders of the islanders.
to find more info check the Ostello degli Elefanti website
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