Visit Aci Trezza
Aci Trezza is situated near Catania on the east coast of Sicily. It is also on the extension of the beach that runs from Catania to Messina. Both the town and surrounding countryside and coast have a great deal of interesting sights.
In front of the beach there are some islands that catch the visitor's attention with their bizarre forms - this group of rocks is known by local inhabitants as the “Faraglioni of Trezza”, or more romantically as as the “Islands of the Cyclops".
Aci Trezza is a popular seaside resort whose rocky beaches with their dramatic rock formations in the sea are the main draw. The village itself is pretty with its pastel coloured houses and the town tends to be at its liveliest on an evening when locals descend from surrounding areas to eat at the popular fish restaurants on the harbour.
The sea front promenade is very popular looking out as it does on the sea, rocks, boats and some impressive sunsets.
Aci Trezza, Lachea Island and the Rocks of the Cyclops
The natural and archaeological features are the main attraction of the tourist areas, and when we speak of Aci Trezza, it is the legendary “Faraglioni” that springs to mind - the nature reserve of the “Isola Lachea e Faraglioni dei Ciclopi” ["Lachea Island and rocks of the Cyclops"] was established to protect the fauna and flora of the region.
This important reserve includes the Lachea Island, the large 'Faraglione' and a series of smaller rocks, all of volcanic origin, originating from Mount Etna’s first activity.
The Lachea Island, which consists mainly of basaltic rocks, is the largest among the "Island of the Cyclops," and it is linked to the first volcanic eruptions in the Gulf of Acitrezza.
It is probable that the island was inhabited in prehistoric times, as evidenced by a lithic axe and stone tomb, some cemeteries and various caves, among which there is the so-called “Grotta del Monaco” ["Cave of the Monk"], because of a hermit who lived in this island.
Along the staircase from the entrance north of the island there are two tanks dug into the rock, in one of which ceramic material was found, that shows that the island was occupied (or visited) in the late Roman age.
The remains of an ancient Phoenician fortress and a place of worship of Byzantine origin have also been found, along with some coins.
Plants and animals: The archipelago of the Cyclops is also a natural site of great interest to visitors to Aci Trezza. The rich fauna of the waters of the Cyclops includes numerous fishes and invertebrates, and at just a few meters of depth, among the seabed rocks, it is easy to distinguish colonies of sponges, red stars, sea pikes, breams, groupers, seahorses, numb-fishes and lobsters.
The sea is full of life and great for scuba divers.
The Lachea fauna is also varied and includes some rodents, reptiles and lizards, several species of birds such as the marsh harrier, peregrine falcon, some waders, the Mediterranean herring Gull, peewit gull and the cormorant. The island flora is essentially composed of selected plants introduced for ornamental purposes.
You can also visit the nature trail of the local museum, full of historical artifacts and examples of local sea fauna.
We should explain why the "Faraglioni" are also known as the "Island of the Cyclops." According to legend, it was from here that Polyphemus threw huge rocks at the ship of the fleeing Ulysses, the huge rocks that we can still see today, uprooted from Mount Etna.
Aci Castello Norman castle
Also close to Aci Trezza, after visiting the “Faraglioni”, toward the southeastern flank of Etna, it may be worth a visit to “Aci Castello”, the name of which is linked to the presence of a 12th-century Norman castle.
The castle is situated on a spur of rock accessed via a stone bridge, which has replaced the old wooden drawbridge.
The large tower follows a rectangular plan, around which is the fortified complex. A focus is the exhibition halls of the museum, which contains archaeological remains dating back to prehistoric times and Middle Ages.
From the first floor of the fortress passing through a narrow staircase you reach the tower, with a vaulted roof supported by ogival arches, and then from here you find access to a terrace which looks over the landscape of Aci Castello and the Ionian Sea.
Other highlights near Aci Trezza
After Aci Castello and passing along the side of Mount Etna you arrive at Valverde and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Valverde. Between Valverde and Aci Catena, passing Aci San Filippo, is the hermitage of Saint Anne, an 18th century convent, and later there is Aci Sant'Antonio, with Prince's Riggio Palace (17th century).
This area, dotted with small villages, is also a good occasion for an interesting excursion to enjoy the landscape and is a chance to try the typical Sicilian and Aci Trezza cuisine, which is of course famous for its fresh fish. Typical of these are the grilled fish made with seasoned olive oil, lemon, parsley and herbs.
The fish also give rise to particular festivals, such as a festival dedicated to the patron saint San Giovanni Battista in late June that is completely dedicated to the swordfish.
Each year at the end of July there is a fish festival, when fish is served to the inhabitants of Aci Trezza and to numerous tourists from a huge frying pan.
Places to Visit Nearby
Just to the south of Aci-Trezza is the city of Catania with its impressive Baroque fountains and quirky elephant fountain. To the north is Acireale with some fine medieval and 17th century architecture.
See also Aci Trezza history and etymology.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.