Cyclops Riviera (Sicily): what to see


What to see in the Riviera dei Ciclopi, an itinerary including the main places of interest, including towns such as Aci Castello and Aci trezza, in the natural setting that inspired great epic poems.

Tourist information

In Sicily, north of Catania going towards Taormina, it stretches close to the lava coast of the Ionian sea, a beautiful coastal stretch called the Cyclops Riviera.

In antiquity this particular coastal landscape, characterized by the volcanic stacks of Aci Trezza, inspired episodes of great epic poems, such as the story of Homer in the Odyssey, when Polyphemus threw huge boulders of stone against the ship of Ulysses on the run , identifiable today with the stacks, which ended up driven into the seabed without hitting the ship.

In addition, near Catania there are various countries whose name begins with Aci, including Aci Castello, Aci Trezza and Acireale.

Their name is linked to the river, now disappeared, called Akis by the Greeks, Aci in Latin, which gave rise to a beautiful love story of Greek mythology, concerning the myth of the shepherd boy Aci killed by jealousy by the giant Polyphemus due to the his love for the nymph Galatea, very dear to the gods, who, taken by compassion for Galatea, turned Aci into a river, so that he could be reunited forever with his beloved in the sea.

These are the places that inspired the great writer Giovanni Verga, who was born in Catania in 1840.

What see

Aci Trezza is the town where the events of the Malavoglia take place, the best known novel of the Sicilian writer, while in Vizzini Verga he set the novel, Mastro Don Gesualdo, and the famous novel Cavalleria Rusticana, which also has Francofonte as its setting.

Fulcrum of the Cyclops Riviera, Aci Trezza is an ancient seaside village founded at the end of the seventeenth century by Don Stefano della Casa Reggio, Prince of Campofiorito, as a maritime landing place for its fiefdom.

The village overlooks the small archipelago of the Cyclops islands, formed by the island of Lachea and the mythical faraglioni, an enchanting landscape of great naturalistic value.

Next to the Church of San Giovanni, there is the Casa del Nespolo, an old fishermen's house where Verga set the history of the Malavoglia, today home to a small museum consisting of two rooms, one dedicated to the film The earth trembles, a cinematographic masterpiece of Luchino Visconti shot in Acitrezza in 1947, and the other called the Malavoglia room, which houses the tools used by local fishermen in the nineteenth century, as well as a small collection of letters and photographs taken by Giovanni Verga.

For the feast of San Giovanni Battista, every year on June 24th the patron of Aci Trezza is celebrated with various celebrations and the pantomime called U pisci a mari, a popular tradition dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, which takes place on the sea staging fishing of the swordfish, with a very compelling representation.

Recommended readings
  • Mazara del Vallo (Sicily): what to see
  • Trapani (Sicily): what to see
  • Randazzo (Sicily): what to see
  • Milazzo (Sicily): what to see
  • Sicily: Sunday day trips

Adjacent to Aci Trezza there is Aci Castello, dominated by the Norman castle that rises overlooking the sea on top of the basaltic cliff, in a spectacular panoramic position.

The castle houses the Civic Museum with the archaeological, mineralogical and paleontological sections.

ACI TREZZA - The Cyclops Riviera - Catania, Sicily, Italy (July 2020)

Tags: Sicily