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Sicily Guide > Catania province

RIVIERA DEI CICLOPI

The Riviera dei Ciclopi, or Cyclops Riviera, is a picturesque eastern coast of Sicily, which stretches for about 10 kilometres, encompassing the fishing villages from Catania to Acireale. The cost takes its name according to Homer’s epic "The Odyssey". The legend has it that it was created when the blinded Cyclops Polyphemus threw enormous rocks at the retreating Ulysses, creating spectacular rock pillars known as faraglioni. The Riviera dei Ciclopi is also famous thanks to Giovanni Verga’s masterpiece "I Malavoglia" and Luchino Visconti film "La terra trema".


 

ACI TREZZA
Located at the centre of the Riviera dei Ciclopi, Aci Trezza is a charming fishing village. Its harbour faces the big basalt rocks of the Faraglioni and the island Lachea, so called Isole dei Ciclopi, or Cyclops Islands. In 1989, in order to protect its wonderful flora and fauna, was established a marine reserve, which also includes the nearby Aci Castello.
Here, in Aci Trezza, the writer Giovanni Verga was inspired to write his masterpiece "I Malavoglia", which narrates the tragic story of a humble fishermen family living in Aci Trezza and their attempts to liberate themselves from exploitation by wholesalers, finally ending with their ruin. In 1947, based on the novel "I Malvoglia", Luchino Visconti shot a film  "La terra trema" ("The earth trembles"). "La terra trema" was starred only by non-professional actors in the same village (Aci Trezza) as the novel was set in. Today, the film is considered one of the most important records of Italian Neo-realism.


 

La Casa Del Nespolo
The museum "Casa del Nespolo" is housed in an old house in the old town of Aci Trezza, next to the church of San Giovanni. The museum is divided in two rooms. First room, named "La terra trema", houses the photos, posters and various objects regarding movie "La terra trema". The second room, named "La Stanza dei Malavoglia", contains a collection of ancient work tools and households objects from 19 th century, but the most interesting exhibits are the photos taken personally by Giovanni Verga and the collection of letters to his brother Pietro.
Location: Via Arciprete De Maria 15
Info: 095 7116638
Opening hours: Every day; October-March 09:30-12:30/16:0018:00; April-June and September 09:30-12:30/16:0019:00; July-August 09:30-13:00/17:00-21:00
Ticket: 1,55 €


 

ACI CASTELLO

Only 9km from Catania centre, toward the south-eastern flank of Etna, lies Aci Castello, an ancient seaside village. It takes his name from the Norman Castle, which dominates the main square and has a wonderful view to the village and the Riviera dei Ciclopi. The origins of Aci Castello date back to 1518, when the Emperor Charles V freed the area of Aci erecting a town. In 1170 the village was destroyed by a terrible earthquake and forced inhabitants to move to neighbouring areas. Later, Aci Castello was rebuilt, but, once again, it was destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. Despite all these fatal catastrophes, the survivors rebuilt it once again in 1718. Today the territory of Aci Castello extends for 8,69 Km squares and count about 18.000 inhabitants.

 

Norman Castle
Built of black lava stone, the Norman Castle is nestled on the top of rocky spur overlooking the sea. It was built in 1076 by Normans on a pre-existing Roman fortification. Later, the castle was granted to the Bishops of Catania by the Norman Count Ruggero. In 1170, a devastating earthquake destroyed all the village and it was rebuilt only in 1530. From the end of the 13 th century until the age of the viceroys, the castle witnessed the long struggles between the Aragon’s of Sicily and the Angevin’s of Naples. In 1647, it passed to the hands of to the noble Massa family, who owned it until feudalism was abolished. Today, the castle houses the civic museum with an interesting collection of minerals and archaeological items. In the courtyard one can visit a small botanical garden.

Location: Piazza Castello
Info: 095 7373415
Opening hours: Daily; Winter time 9:00-13:00/15:00-17:00; Summer time 9:00-13:00/16:00-20:00
Ticket: Full price - 3,00 €; from 7y. to 10y. - 1,50 €; over 65y. – 1,00 €; until 6y. – free entrance.

 
 
 
 
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