Aci Trezza is a compact historical town that sits on the lip of sea, belonging to the commune of Aci Castello. Compared to its bustling neighbour, Catania, a short drive away, this is a laidback town where you can enjoy sipping espresso, climbing the lava rock formations that surround the coast, exploring ancient rocky castles and cathedrals, and discovering the mythical narratives tied to every inch of this littoral town. Here is a guide to spending a beautiful day in the peaceful borough, Aci Trezza.
There are many delectable pastry shops and cafés tucked away into the cobbled streets but one of the favourites known to locals and tourists alike is Gran Cafe Solaire. Located a short walk from the harbour, crisp salty air wafts through the street it occupies, blended with the rich aroma of fresh coffee brewing. This is a great place to grab an espresso, granita, brioche, or fruit tart, and admire the traditional Italian interior and classic vibe.
Gran Cafe Solaire, Via Provinciale, 81, Aci Castello CT, Italy +39 345 165 6822
Perched on a rocky precipice above the crashing waves of the Mediterranean is the Castello Normanno. The Medieval layer features a colourful garden, stunning views of the sea and surrounding outcroppings of lava rock. Tour through the interior where you can find ancient gothic attire, artefacts, and maps detailing the makeup of the city before and after its demise by the eruption of Mt. Etna in 1169. Sign your name to the large tome filled with inscriptions and messages from other travellers. Make your way to the top terrace and savour the remarkable views of the town and stretch of ocean.
After you disembark from the busy port you will be absorbed into the overwhelming calm of gentle lapping water beneath your boat. Get a closeup look at the colossal lavarock peaks and their clandestine makeshift relics installed into the knooks and crannies of the bubbling formation. Investigate the hidden grottos of Ulysses’s cave, and go snorkelling in the pellucid turquoise waters around the Isola Ciclopi, belonging to the Faraglioni Nature Reserve. On your venture you’ll learn about the mythes revolving around the island. According to folklore, the cluster of lavarock mounts is from the Cyclops throwing rocks at Ulysses and his crew after they escaped his lair and blinded him.
The perfect place to soak up the ocean air and enjoy a traditional Sicilian dish is along the seawalk at Sicilia’s Cafe de Mar. Sip on a classic and refreshing Aperol spritz while enjoying some delicious eats. This chic and modern restaurant has comfortable outside seating to take in the view, or an elegant interior in which you can relax and escape the sun for a bit. They are known for their creative pizzas combining Sicilian recipes and innovative flavours to make delicious pastas, appetizers, and desserts.
One of the most appealing parts of Aci Trezza is its relaxed atmosphere. After lunch, cross the street over to the seafront, where you can crawl around the stony gnarls of lava rocks and dip your toes in the brisk water. If you continue down the sea you’ll find yourself in the buzzing square. Families flock here on weekends and you’ll see children rollerblading, blowing bubbles, and parents sitting on benches seaside reading books and papers. Down below is a stretch of exposed lava rock where you can put a towel out to sunbathe, and peer up at the stacks that create the foundation of the plaza above.
Located in the old town centre is a small aged house that is home to the Museo Casa Del Nespolo, a hommage to the film I Malavoglia which is based on the book by the noted Italian author, Giovanni Verga. Due to the movie being filmed in Aci Trezza, it features posters, photos, and props used in the movie. You will see handwritten notes and photographs taken by Giovanni Verga of the idyllic town. It also has rooms dedicated to the life of local sailors and fisherman that the story revolves around, with actual tools and belongings they used. You will be absorbed back into the authentic life of a 19th century fisherman as you make your way through this rustic and captivating museum.
When night falls the city centre and promenade become alive with glowing string lights, and families dining out on giant pizzas, fresh seafood, and sampling tasty cocktails and wine. Although the crowds disperse fairly early, the small town comes in full swing at this hour. Here you can walk through the space and have your pick of delicious cuisine. Pizzeria Luna Rossa is a delightful restaurant situated right on the harbour. Serving up massive and unique pizzas, exquisite desserts, and a plethora of local beers, wine, and mixed drinks. Admire the clock tower, the dark clapping waves, and the luminous square while people watching in this distinctive cultural town. Afterwards you can stroll back down the marina and enjoy the moonlight cast through the mythical lava spires.