Acitrezza is a small and picturesque fishing village in Catania. Its charm lies in the stunning natural landscape that you cannot easily forget. It seems to be catapulted into an ancient world full of tradition. Walk down the road to the harbour with small boats to see the traditional fishermen’s boats.
Acitrezza was founded in the 17th century at the behest of Prince Campofiorito Don Stefano Riggio who belonged to the House of Etna, and for years has been an active center of fishermen. You can easily reach it from Catania in 20 minutes by the bus AMT (line 534), the price of the ticket is about €1.30. The bus also passes through another beautiful village called Acicastello. The bus leaves from Piazza Falcone e Borsellino,but also from other parts of the city.
TIP: avoid peak times if you want to get there in time!
The Island of Cyclops is the most attractive part of Acitrezza. It is an archipelago of rocks, which is right in front of the village. The stacks are related to two legends:
- The first legend says that Polyphemus, the Cyclops, fell in love with Galatea, but his love was unrequited because Galatea loved the shepherd Acis. Blinded by jealousy, Polyphemus killed Acis throwing the rock. The rock formed the Island of Lachea and Acis turned into a river.
- The second legend says that when Ulysses reached the island with his fleet was imprisoned by Polyphemus. Ulysses managed to escape thanks to a gimmick and he blinded Polyphemus which hurled the boulders.
The main rocks are Faraglione Grande, Faraglione di Mezzo e degli Uccelli. Then, there is the beautiful Island of Lachea. If you visit Catania in summer, I recommend you to spend the day snorkeling and also exploring the Island of Lachea 😉
The rocks are really magical at sunset. You can enjoy the scenery from the bar Mythos that I included in my list of the tastiest granitas in Catania.
For all literature lovers, if you know the novelist Giovanni Verga visit Casa del Nespolo, the Civic Museum located in Via Arciprete Salvatore De Maria, 15. The admission price is about €1.50. Here you can see photos and testimonials of the masterpiece “La Terra trema”, written by Luchino Visconti, and other testimonials of the 19th century Acitrezza world. There is also a collection of tools, furnishings and photos belonging to Giovanni Verga.
TIP: read Verga’s novel “I Malavoglia” where Acitrezza is described.
If you are in Catania from June 23 to 25 enjoy the feast of San Giovanni Battista, the patron saint invocated by fishermen who want to be protected when they are at sea. During the feast fishermen decorate their boats and stage the pantomime of the capture of the swordfish, named U pisci a mari. This feast, which represents the comparison between the man and the sea, the fisherman and his pret, is one of the most important feasts in Sicily.
Are you lost in time looking at Acitrezza? 🙂