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Acicastello totals about 19,200 inhabitants. It is a small fishing village in the Eastern coast of Sicily. It is one of nine cities in the area sharing the prefix “Aci”. This shore stretch is particularly rich in lemons – hence often referred to as the “Lemons’ Coast” – agaves and palm trees.
The Castle – Built of black lava strone, this Norman fortress is nestled atop a rocky spur on the sea. This place has been fortified since the Roman Age, when it hosted the Rocca Saturnia. Destroyed on several occasions, it was rebuilt by Tancredi in 1189. Under the Bourbons, around 1787, the castle was used as a prison. A splendid view over the faraglioni and the Lachea island can be enjoed from its top. The castle houses the small City Museum, collecting archaeological relics and mineral specimens.
Acis and Galatea – Daughter of Nereus, the sea nimph Galatea fell in love with the shepherd Acis, son of God Pan. Unfortunately, she caught the eye of cyclop Polyphemus as well, the enemy of Ulysses. As the nimph rejected him, he, jealous and hatred, killed the young shepherd. Zeus, moved to pity by the pain suffered by the young Nereid, transformed her lover into a river (to-day’s Akis) that flowing towards the sea, the realm of Galatea, enables the two to meet for ever more.
The nine Aci – According to a legend, the body of the young shepherd killed by Poliphemus was dismembered into nine parts, upon which the nine Aci-cities were built. They are Aci Bonaccorsi, Aci Castello, Aci Catena, Aci Platani, Acireale, Aci S. Filippo, Aci S. Antonio, Aci S. Lucia and Aci Trezza. This stretch of Sicily’s Eastern coastline is also known as the Cyclops’ Coast.