Aci Castello is a coastal town in the province of Catania in Sicily. The town has about 18 thousand inhabitants. The main attraction of Aci is the castle, which towers above everything else on a rock along the coast. From the historic center you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the Mediterranean Sea.
All about Aci Castello (province of Catania)
The Ufficio Turistico is at Via Savoia, 18 (Phone: +39 0957373424 or 0957373425).
From Catania you can take bus line 534 to get to Aci.
What to see in Aci Castello
The main attraction of Aci Castello, apart from the aforementioned Norman castle, is the mother church, which was completely rebuilt in the 20th century. The church is graced by frescoes by the hand of Pietro Paolo Vasta.
The Municipal Museum (Museo Civico) is based in the castle (Piazza Castello, tel. +39 320 4339691). It is divided into three sections, namely paleontology, mineralogy and archaeology. The Piazza Castello is also the main and most beautiful square of the town.
Those who want to enjoy a little greenery can visit the city’s Botanical Garden.
The Faraglioni dei Ciclopi are eight large rocks that rise above sea level shortly before the coast. Together with the Isola Lachea they form a protected nature reserve. In Homer’s “Odyssey”, the Lachea Island is described as being inhabited only by goats. According to Greek legend, the rocks were thrown by the Cyclops Polyphemos at a fleeing Odysseus.
The suburb of Aci Trezza is a fishing village with a beautiful view of the Ionian Sea and the Faraglioni dei Ciclopi. The village, founded in the 17th century, was the background for the famous novel “I Malavoglia” by Giovanni Verga, which was translated into English as “The Empty Runners” and filmed by Luchino Visconti as “La Terra Trema”.
Cannizzaro is another suburb of Aci Castello. It is here that the municipality’s train station is located. It is named after the family that held the village as a fiefdom in the first half of the 18th century.
A brief history of Aci Castello
Aci Castello is named after the Norman castle, which was built in 1076, and is located on a volcanic rock along the coast. The word aci is of Greek origin (akis) and means “pointed object.”
It is possible that the first settlement at the site was part of a completely disappeared mysterious Greek city called Xiphonia. Subsequently, the Romans were to found the city of Rocca Saturnia here.
The castle later became property of the bishops of Catania.
In the course of the centuries, Aci was destroyed, and rebuilt, numerous times, including by King Tancredi in the 12th century.
In the 14th century Frederick II of Aragon took over the castle from Ruggero Lauria. Four centuries later it came into the hands of Giuseppe Emanuele Massa.
Nowadays, besides tourism, the population depends mainly on agriculture.
It must be said that little effort is being made to attract more tourists. In the 50’s traces were found of a necropolis that was probably a hectare in size. No attempt has been made to excavate it.