Just 30 minutes from Catania by car and in the Mount Etna basin, a visit to this interesting town is an easy day trip.
First impression driving through Adrano is that the historic center, with its beautiful old buildings and narrow stone paved streets, is in excellent shape and feels well-cared for, something that is not always the case with Sicilian towns. We also picked up on the town's peaceful and friendly vibe (at least on a Saturday morning).
Unfortunately, we didn't have time to thoroughly explore the historic center on our recent visit--spent too long in the dumpy antique shop. But we did have time to see what for us was a main highlight and turned out to be great fun for the whole family: smack in the center of the historic center is a large park, right across the street from the most famous historic features of the town -- its former monastery (now an elementary school) on one side and a Norman castle and church (Chiesa Madre) on the other--you can't miss it.
On our stroll through the park we were thrilled to find a playground, pretty clean, with padded flooring and fairly decent equipment, slides, gyms, swings, a see saw, benches, and other kids to play with. Yeah for decent playgrounds (playgrounds in Sicily usually mean broken swing, dirt, and cigarette butts). Our toddler had a blast and we didn't mind hanging out in that pleasant park either.
There are other nice things to wander by in the park --several fountains, grassy areas and tree-lined paths (okay, it is no Versaille, but it doesn't get much better than this in Sicily!). Pick up a sandwich at one of the nearby bars or panificio and have a picnic, that's what we did. The bread and olives are highly recommended. A local told us that the best coffee can be had at the chiosk across the street from the park's main entrance. The only off-putting experience was passing through a mob of high school kids hanging out by the large fountain, evidently the after school place to be.
The monastery, church and castle can all be reached from the park by foot. We peeked into Chiesa Madre with its interesting, unfinished facade, but found the castle closed (closes at 1:00). We would have liked to have seen its interior and the archaeological and other museums it houses.
All in all, the whole family had a good time visiting Adrano and I'll definitely be back for a second visit. Next time around I'll be sure to plan the trip a little better: first visit the Castle museums, then pick up some food and hang out in the park, then stroll through the town. And before heading home, with baby asleep in the car, stop by the Norman bridge (Ponte dei Saraceni) that crosses the Simeto River.
Check out this link for more information about the historic monuments to visit in Adrano.