An Ionian seaside town, Avola is a mix of old and new. The town focuses heavily on the sea, with its history as a tuna fishing port. Today, the remains of the Vecchia Tonnara at the wharf are a stone backdrop to the sandy beaches. Avola dates back to a pre-Greek people called the Sicani.…
Aci Castello and the other Acis around are destinations not to be missed in Sicily, especially for lovers of Greek myths and literature. It is here that the poets Virgil and Ovid gave birth to the myth of Galatea and Aci and their love story.
In the second half of 1100 the town was destroyed by an earthquake and on that occasion the inhabitants found refuge in neighboring territories which then contributed to the birth of autonomous centers today known as Acitrezza, Acireale and all the other towns that have the word Aci as prefix. The town is located just 9 km from Catania, which is why it is easily accessible.
Arriving to the city, we stumbled upon Church of Saint Maurus.
Then you get yourself into the maze of the medieval streets with a typical Mediterranean charm. Here the houses are colorful and it always smells on food.
Almost overlooking the town is the medieval castle of Aci Castello which makes me think of the important past that this small town had: we think back to the Sicilian kings, to the Aragonese who did everything to have it and also to the period in which it was used as a prison. Already from the period of both Greek and Roman colonization, the fortress where the Aci Castello castle stands today was certainly used as a strategic position, controlling enemy attacks that came from the sea. Unfortunately, today there is nothing left of the structures of the time, probably due to the destruction caused by the Arab invasion, but we know of its function thanks to the testimonies of ancient writers who remind us of the ancient naval battles fought in these waters. There are various archaeological finds, especially submarines, now preserved in the Civic Museum of Aci Castello, which attest to the frequentation of this place.
The castle, or more to me a fortress is located on Piazza Castello. It is now connected to the mainland. This was not the case until 1169 when Mount Etna spilled lava that came down to Aci and remained around the castle.
In 1296 admiral of the Aragonese fleet during the War of the Sicilian Vespers, was granted the fief of Aci and its castle as a reward for his faithful service to King Frederick III of Sicily.
The War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282 – 1302) is a war that began in 1282 with a rebellion (called the Sicilian Vespers) against Charles I of Anjou, and ended in 1302 with the peace of Caltabellotta. The war took place in Sicily, Catalonia and some other parts of the western Mediterranean. On the one hand, the king of Aragon participated in the war, and on the other, Charles I. of Anjou, his son Charles II. Neapolitan, kings of France and the Pope.
On Easter Monday, March 30, 1282, in a church on the outskirts of Palermo, during evening prayer, a rebellion called the Sicilian Vespers began. The exact events leading up to Vespers are not well known, but all the various accounts of the event mention that the French harassed or provoked the Sicilian women. That event angered the Sicilians, who later, during six weeks, killed 4,000 French in Sicily. At that time the king of Sicily was Charles I of Anjou, who ruled Sicily with the help of the French, with whom the people of Sicily were very angry. The French were notorious for treating the local population badly. The people spared only a few Frenchmen, who were known for their good behavior.
Messina was the last to rebel on April 28, 1282. The rebellion was fueled by the representatives of Peter III. of Aragon as the successor of Manfred of Sicily. Peter III. Aragonese tried unsuccessfully to get the support of Byzantium.
The view from above is of course spectacular. You can see the city and the surroundings. There is a cool breeze that will refresh your mind and make you ready to sail.
Sicily has a big trash problem. I have been trying to understand where is all this garbage coming from and how this problem occurred. I’ve noticed here for example that the garbage is being picked up but not necessarily swept up—some garbage still lingers around the bins. What I continue to see is many citizens throwing garbage on their streets—eating local dish, let’s say, and throwing the wrapping on the street rather than in a garbage can! Or throwing a plastic wrapper out the window of an old Fiat 500 as we all wait at the train’s crossing or throwing a chocolate wrapping while being on a motorcycle that will end up on my windshield as I am driving just behind… Or an example that I believes says even more: a man is going out to leave his ytrash bags for the trash collection, he arrives at the street just in front of his house and finds some plastic trash, instead of taking that trash and placing it next to his own trash bags he kicks the plastic in the middle of the street like it will just magically disappear, but then he all so glorious deposes his trash bags on the floor of street.
This leads to the conclusion that they miss the education on environment. So I am super happy when I see signs like this:
If you’d like to eat I am recommending Ristorante Giancarlo Barone with a great view on the sea and the castle.