The Riviera dei Ciclopi is a 12-kilometer long stretch of the coast located north of the beautiful city of Catania that goes from Acireale to Aci Castello.
This wonderful coastline is an area full of stunning beauty, landscape, geology, history, myths and legends. It was named after some legends about the huge rocks sprouting from the sea, (some of them even up to 70 meters high). In fact, there are different legends about these boulders all involving Cyclops Polyphemus, the giant son of Poseidon and one of the Cyclopes. According to a legend, Polyphemus threw these boulders in the sea to express his rage against Ulysses, whose story has been told by Homer's Odyssey. Another legend tells that both a shepherd called Aci and Polyphemus were in love with Galatea a beautiful sea nymph. Blinded by jealousy, Polyphemus killed Aci throwing a large rock on him. Galatea prayed the gods to give her beloved Aci back and the Gods turned Aci into a river, so that Galatea could swim in it and be with her beloved , it flows into the sea through the small beach where Aci and Galatea used to meet. Today, most of the towns that lie on this coast (Acireale, Aci Castello, Aci Trezza, and others) owe their names to Aci.
The area is full of stunning beauties, the lava stone, the beautifil villages, the island of Lachea, the “faraglioni” of the Cyclops – wonderful natural formations created by prehistoric submarine eruptions – and above all the sea in all the shades of cobalt blue.
Starting from Catania, Aci Castello is a very nice small village developed around the amazing Norman Castle built in the eleventh century. From Piazza Castello, the main square of Aci Castello, you can enjoy beautiful views over the whole Cyclops Riviera. We suggest strolling around the narrow alleys and the seventeenth-century buildings or relaxing on the lava beaches or on the piers along the sea.
From here, you can drive 6 kilometers north and get to Aci Trezza, another popular fishing village, with beautiful and well-equipped beaches. The village has a beautiful, protected marine reserve, where you can have a quick swim and admire the multi-coloured fish and plant-life underwater.
The town of Acireale is high above the rocky coast and is well worth a visit. From the public gardens you look down towards the Riveria dei Ciclopi. The town was built on old lava streams and has a beautiful piazza with a Baroque style cathedral. In Roman times it was known as a spa town and the thermal baths are still used today. It is also well known for its Sicilian puppet theatre and museum and also for its Carnevale in early spring which is said to be the best in Sicily.
The river Aci had its mouth at Capo Mulini, a small fishing village which has intimate restaurants serving seafood and fish that could not be any fresher, this is where we always stop for lunch. The waters off the coast of Capo Mulini were the scene for naval battles that were fought between Carthage and Syracuse and later the Roman civil wars.
If you want to spend a relaxing day, swimming and enjoying the sun, one of my favorite place is "Il faro", an elegant beach club with a stunning view on the Riviera dei Ciclopi, a good restaurant and in the peak season they provide a service of animation for kids
Me at Capomulini a few years ago
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.