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Casa Cifali

  • Writer's pictureMassimo

The Land of the Cyclops

Just 49 minutes from Taormina there are some small villages situated along the coast in the direction of Catania that are worth exploring. They are part of the municipality of Acireale. Among these the most famous is the small town of Aci Trezza. This town is the center of an ancient and remarkable fishing tradition. Along the harbor you can see eight picturesque basaltic rocks, and according the legend the Cyclops Polyphemus hurled them against Ulysses and his ships. The island, Lache, identified by the tales of Homer as the island of goats, is home of the University of Catania biology studies. This whole area is a nature reserve. It was the village of Giovanni Verga, who wrote the Malavoglia, which in 1948 was turned into the eponymous film “The Earth Trembles,” a neorealist masterpiece. The story is about a family of fishermen, joined by people from the same culture but divided by their different life choices and overwhelmed by an inescapable destiny. La Casa del Nespolo of Padron 'Ntoni is where a small museum has been set up containing objects of maritime tradition and a photographic section dedicated to the Luchino Visconti film.

Next there is Aci Castello which takes its name from the stone castle, now the town museum. Do not miss Santa Maria La Scala with its small marina and the other villages along this coast, all dedicated to fishing and today also to tourism.

Here you can find some quality fish difficult to find in the rest of Sicily, without taking away anything from Taormina’s restaurants which is a reference point for the island. To reach these places you have to take the highway in the direction of Catania, exit at Acireale and follow the straight road that takes you to the sea shore, turn right towards Catania and then just follow the signs. I hope my tips will be of help. I wish you a good adventure!

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