Tucked away behind the Playa - Catania's sandy beach - is the Boschetto della Playa, one of the few truly green zones in Catania. The word boschetto, little forest, evokes images of evergreens, and indeed the main feature of this park is a wooded area filled with pine trees, just big enough to give the sense of a real forest. The tall trees create delightful shade in the hot summer months, and the winding paths that zig zag through them are perfect for biking, jogging or playful discovery.
Apparently the pines are remnants of the ancient Roman's efforts at forestation: they used the wood from such trees for ship building.
In order to get to the trees you have to navigate past a large, man-made pond full of ducks, turtles and fish, or else a picnic area and a sandy playground.
One hot spring day we found ourselves equally dividing our time between the playground swings, pretend fishing at the pond (uh-oh, the littlest fell in!), and the tree-lined paths, which with a little 5 year old imagination was transformed into a tiger-filled jungle.
This is a very popular destination on weekends for Catanese families who often have picnics here, as as well as joggers and bikers.