Aci Castello

A little more than 10 kilometers from Catania is Aci Castello, an ancient fishing village located 15 meters above sea level. The name Aci Castello comes from the homonymous castle built in 1076 by the Normans on a nearby lava stone hill.

On the coast there are large basaltic spikes, on the largest of which stands the Norman Castle which gives its name to the town and represents its most characteristic element. It dominates the main square of the town, bordered by a long balcony from which it is possible to admire the sea, Riviera dei Ciclopi.

The castle, built with lava stone from Mount Etna, stands on a promontory of lava rock overlooking the sea. It can only be accessed from the square, via a brick staircase. The wooden drawbridge, which no longer exists today, occupied part of the entrance staircase. At the center of the fortress is the «donjon», the quadrangular tower, the fulcrum of the manor. Few surviving structures remain: the access, which preserves the remains of the drawbridge system; the courtyard where there is a small botanical garden; some rooms, including those where the museum is housed, a chapel, probably from the Byzantine era, and a large panoramic terrace overlooking the gulf in front. It is currently home to a civic museum divided into three sections: mineralogy, paleontology and archeology.

Of particular architectural interest is the Mother Church, with remarkable frescoes by Pietro Vasta (1697-1760).

Rich in smells, flavors and colors, the cuisine of the many renowned restaurants of Aci Castello and Aci Trezza offers a great variety of delicious dishes.