Hello everyone! While I write this report I'm attending my last year of my architecture course at university. The main architecture laboratory is focused on the redevelopment of an old industrial area near Siracusa, in Sicily. Since this project is gonna be our final work, the teacher organized a site inspection in Siracusa for 25-26th November.
I've never been to Sicily, even if it's an amazing region. Therefore this trip became the occasion to experience the island better.
Plane is the only way to get from Milan to Sicily in a quick way. The fastest train can take up to 15 hours and at least one stopover. This is due to the fact that the Italian high speed network ends in Naples. South of it there are only conventional railways; moreover the train has to be shipped to cross the 3-km Strait of Messina, which separates Sicily from the mainland.
No need to say we didn't consider anytime this solution.
Catania Airport is the closest to Siracusa, being located 48 kilometers from our destination. Our initial plan was to leave on Thursday 24th November, stay with our teacher in Siracusa on Friday and Saturday, than spending Sunday in Catania before the nine-o'clock flight back home. By the way we discovered that leaving back on Monday was much more convenient (116 euros agains 152) even considering an additional night. We decided to stay in Siracusa two nights, than spending one night in Taormina and then the last one in Catania, leaving back to Milan on Monday 28th evening.
After a bit of research the best option appeard to be flying with ITA Airways from Linate. Actualy Ryanair from Malpensa was kinda cheaper, but we avoided it. First of all because the cabin baggage was not included; leaving from MXP would have meant taking the Malpensa Express train, which costs around 20 euros, and waking up around 5 am to catch the flight around 9 am.
We chose ITA Airways "Economy Light" fare, which gives the possibility to bring a standard trolley as a carry on, plus a small bag to put under the seat. We booked the flight the 28th October, less than one month before the departure date.
Since the meeting with the teacher was planned for the the day after our arrival, we deciced not the get the earlier flight (departing 9.50). For the return we took the latest flight departing from Catania.
We booked also three hotels in Siracusa (two nights), Taormina and Catania (one night each) for a total of 114 euros per person.
Since public transport in Sicily is not very efficient a rented car was the only way to move around all these places. We chose SicilyByCar rental which offered us a Fiat Panda for 55 euros per person.
AZ1713 - Economy - Milan → Catania - Airbus A320You are here
On the 9th November ITA Airways sent an email informing that the flight was postponed, from 10.50 to 11.00. Nothing serious, fortunately…
ITA Airways gives the possibility to check-in 48 hourse before each flight. On Tuesday morning I logged in on their app to check-in and generate my boarding pass.
The procedure itself was very easy and quick. The app ask me to confirm my Volare frequent flyer number; by the way when I got my BP I noticed that the number was missing. Moreover, even hours after the check-in, the app continued to show the "Check-in" button as the procedure hadn't been done.
Even if the app had been improved since ITA's foundation one year before, there are still some issues to fix.
For the fare I chose the seat selection wasn't available. Fortunately I got a window seat, 24F, in the rear of the cabin.
Arriving at THE AIRPORT
With the flight scheduled to 11 my friend and I decided to be at Linate no later than 9.30, since none of us needed to check any luggage
Getting there from my house can take 45 minutes and two changes (subway, train and bus). By the way my friend, who lives close to my home, and I were able to find a shared car. From our place to the airport 15/20 minutes are needed.
We grabbed a car at quarter to nine and in 20 minutes we arrived at Milan-Linate Airport
Viale Forlanini, the entrance avenue to the airport
Milan skyline and the Alps seen from the parking.
The parking which hosts car sharing is connected to the terminal through a walkway We got inside the terminal around 9:15, more than one hour before scheduled boarding time Even if the terminal had been refurbished a couple of years ago, the departure hall is a bit dark
The boarding gate was already visible on the FIDS
Having a bit of spare time I went to ITA's counter to get my boarding pass printed Moreover the online BP didn't show my frequent flyer number and I wanted to check it
Counters were empty and I got my BP in no time The agent told me that the frequent flyer number was registered; unfortunately ITA's app and website still have some issues with frequent flyer log-in…
Having nothing else to do my mates and I proceeded straight to the security checkpoint
waiting to board
There was a bit of queue at the checkpoint The control itself was quickly due to the advanced X-ray machinery which allows passengers to keep their liquids inside the bag The whole procedure took 15 minutes
Mandatory passage through the duty free shop
The main departure lounge
Getting upstairs to get a coffee and take some pictures
ITA Airways A320s
Despite boarding was scheduled 30 minutes later we decided to wait at the gate
I want to take a moment to express something I feel really strange about Linate (both as an avgeek and as an architect) The main departure lounge is located on the 1st floor. And on the same floor there're 5 contact gates. By the way to access the gate area there's a mandatory passage through the remote gates area, located on the ground floor. In my opinion this is kinda weird, also considering the airport had been improved recently
Our gate was already set for boarding
The apron with few European birds
A320s line up: British Airways and 3 ITA Airways, one in old livery
KLM Boeing 737 just landed…
…and docking at the gate
Hibernian Airlines Bombardier CRJ-1000 landing
This plane is wetleased by ITA Airways
ITA Airways A220, painted in "Born to be Sustainable" livery as the other 4 planes in the fleet
Our plane for today: ITA Airways Airbus A320-200, EI-DTA, delivered to AirOne in December 2008 (14.0 years old). It was later transferred to Alitalia and now it's part of ITA's fleet. It's equipped with 171 seats in mixed C-Y configuration. The plane is dedicated to Italian football champion Gaetano Scirea. I've already flown on EI-DTA on FCO-LIN route in December 2021.
Perfectly on time boarding was called at gate A19
Mandatory door shot The blue paint looks sooo good
Heading to my seat, 24F The plane seemed to have a 80% load factor
The view from my seat, with an Iberia A320 parked in front of the Emporio Armani hangar
Meanwhile boarding was going on The seat was a standard european-haul one, with a decent pitch for a short flight
As boarding came to end an ITA Airways A320 pulled into the gate next to our
"Boarding completed" was called minutes before 11 A few minutes after we pushed back
ITA Airways, Aer Lingus and British Airways A320s
ITA Airways A220 and KLM Boeing 737 parked the terminal
Milan skyline with Alps is always a wonderful view
ITA Airways A320
Brussels Airlines A319 landing
German Airways Embraer E190 leased by ITA
Waiting for take-off on runway 36
ITA Airways A320 landing before our turn to go
Entering the runway bound to north As I know most of the operations are north-bound
Almost 20 minutes after scheduled we started our take off run
And in the air…
Linate's terminal The lake behind is called "Idroscalo" and was built in the 20s as a seaplane port
Mondadori (left) and IBM (right) headquarters in Segrate The first one was designed by Brasilian architect Oscar Niemeyer
Banking over Segrate and Milano San Felice towns…
Milan with the Alps
Linate Airport as we pointed towards south
Passing over A58 motorway
The interchange between A1 and A58 motorways
Crossing over Po river, the longest in Italy
This S-bend is located west of Piacenza, on the border between Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions
Approaching Apennine Mountains
Piacenza-San Damiano Military Airport (ICAO: LIMS)
Pisa city center, with the Leaning Tower and the Cathedral
Livorno visible in the distance
Piombino with Elba Island in the background
Rome-Fiumicino (IATA: FCO, ICAO: LIRF) visible between the clouds
30 minutes into the flight a drink service was delivered I got an orange juice, which was quite good
While the service was in progress we started to flight above Tyrrean Sea
The largest visible island is Ponza, the other two are Zannone and Palmarole
Eolie Islands, approaching Sicily's airspace
Cabin was prepared for landing and the crew informed that we'd arrived in 20 minutes
Northern Sicily seemed to be covered by clouds…
Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe (3.357 metres)
Located a few kilometres north of Catania, it's one of the activest volcano in the world
Emerging under the light cloud layers
Aligning to the runway
Catania with Mount Etna in the background Such a pity the summit is covered by clouds
Our shadow appears on the sea surface I definitely got the best side to enjoy this landing
Catania's beach The runway edge is located barely 600 metres from the shore
Last moments on air
At 12:35, ten minutes before scheduled, we touched down at Catania-Fontanarossa Airport The airport is dedicated to opera composer Vincenzo Bellini
The landing was quite hard and the brake very strong
Even if the runway is equipped with a parallel taxiway, we had to backtrack to vacate
Docking at a contact gate minutes after The captain welcomed us in Catania telling that the temperature was 23 °C, much more enjoyable than the 5°C in Milan
As I later discovered the western portion of the taxiway was undergoing renovation, obliging planes to backtrack the runway for landing or take off
Disembark was quite fast
Fuselage shot of our blue bird
Heading to the exit
Last view of our plane
Welcome to Catania!
The baggage hall
Since none of us had checked bags we get straight to the exit
My friends and me got off the terminal and went straight to the car rental center, located 4 minutes walking After claiming our car (a Citroen C1) we pointed immediately to Siracusa The motorway ride took around 45 minutes
See you for the return flight!
Bonus : Click here display hide
It was my first time in Sicily and I definitely fall in love with this Region Not only I visited beautiful places, but I get in contact with a wonderful atmosphere and tasted very good dishes Moreover I had a very pleasant time with my university mates No doubts I'll visit again!
Ortigia Island, Siracusa's city center, seen from the boat tour
Santa Panagia cycling road, built on an abandoned rail track It's close to our project site
Tonnara di Santa Panagia, a XVIII Century yard used to catch tuna
Oil tanks behind are unloading fuel at Augusta refinery
Taormina's Ancient Theatre, built in the 3rd Century BC
Sicily's coastline south of Taormina
Sicily's coastline north of Taormina, with Italy's mainland visible in the right background
Taormina seen from Castelmola, located 560 metres above the sea level
Aci Trezza sea stacks
Catania's Ancient Theatre
Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena, Catania
And to finish, some Sicily's food masterpieces
Milan - LIN
Catania - CTA
The flight was a standard domestic ITA's flight, the cabin was comfortable, the crew professional and the service decent
Linate is an efficient airport, it works very well as European gateway to Milan. Also the process at Catania Airport was a breeze.
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