Until the end of the trip we didn’t decide whether to spend the last night in Aci Trezza or in Aci Castello. Both towns are very close to Catania, from where we would leave Sicily to set sail for Madrid. Finally, we chose Aci Trezza because of its proximity to the Isole dei Ciclopi (also known as Faraglioni). These are a tiny islands formed by the wonderful underwater activity of the volcano Etna more than 500,000 years ago.
We spend less than 24 hours in Aci Trezza, since we arrived at noon and the next morning we headed to the airport. The distances are very short and even in an afternoon you can see everything.
Upon arrival, we went to La Cambusa del Capitano, a place where, although its specialty is fish and seafood, it was not difficult for me to find something for myself. We accompanied the whole trip with vino bianco della casa.
FARAGLIONI DI ACI TREZZA BOAT TOUR
After lunch we walked along the promenade admiring the Faraglioni and hired a boat tour that took us to see them up closer. The captain and his wife, kindly, offered juice to us and the other couple of Italians who had taken the tour. They told us the myth of Ulysses and the Cyclops, and they showed us the cave where the legend develops.
LEGEND OF THE CYCLOPES
The Odyssey of Homer says that Ulysses arrived in his boat at the Isole dei Ciclopi, where they found a cave full of food and drink. The Ulysses’ men and he began to eat a good feast.
Suddenly Polyphemus, the most powerful of the Cyclops and owner of the cave caught them inside. When the one-eyed giant had already devoured several of the intruders, Ulysses gave him the strongest of wines to drink. Drunk, Polyphemus asked him his name and he said he was “Nobody.” At the moment Polyphemus fell into a very deep sleep due to alcohol; that moment Ulysses and the survivors took advantage to put a branch in the single eye, leaving him blind. Because of the pain, Polyphemus awoke and began to scream that nobody had attacked him. The rest of the Cyclops on hearing it thought he would be drunk or crazy and they did not come to help him.
The next morning the giant took his sheep to graze. As he was blind he touched the back of each sheep to see that none of Odysseus’ men rode them. However he was overlooked touching his wombs, where Ulysses and the others clung to escape. Realizing the trap Polyphemus burned in anger. He took giant stones and threw them trying to bring down the ship in which Ulysses was trying to flee.
According to Greek mythology the Faraglioni of Aci Trezza is nothing other than the stones that Polyphemus threw against the boat of Ulysses.
As he told the story, he sailed in the direction of Aci Castello. Before turning we were allowed to take a bath in the deep waters of the sea.
I do not remember the name of the company we hired for the tour. As soon as you go to the port you will see several boats offering this service.
VIA LUNGOMARE DEI CICLOPI
After the tour we went to bathe in front of the Faraglioni, in the Via Lungomare dei Ciclopi. The beach there is not sand but rock. Still there are a lot of tourists, especially Italians. The views are simply spectacular. However, they should take care of cleaning the Area Marina Protetta Isole Ciclopi a bit more, because it was full of garbage. And it’s a shame because the setting is incredibly beautiful.
After a little exploring we found a slightly cleaner corner and we spent the whole afternoon throwing ourselves to the sea from the rocks.
VISIT TO ACI CASTELLO
After dinner we decided to visit Aci Castello. It takes about 20 minutes to get there. The atmosphere could not be more peculiar. It reminded us -in a way- of Palermo. Countless groups of teenagers with tattoos, tank tops and piercings competed to see who plays the loudest music. The city was a macro-jamming itself. Not only young people from Aci Castello, but also from Catania, Aci Trezza and surrounding villages. The worst part was the crazy way they drove their scooters.
We saw, briefly, the Castello Normando de Aci Castello, which is in the square itself. After taking an ice cream we returned, fearing of being run over.
sunrise at THE FARAGLIONI DEI CICLOPI
The next morning we woke up to watch the sun rise behind the Faraglioni. The last dawn of our first trip. A trip in which we met much more and we purify that healthy vice of being with the sun when crossing the horizon.
We would see many sunrises later, but we will never forget the one that lit the crystalline waters of the Riviera dei Ciclopi; when the silence of the morning silenced the same tourists that later hours would bring chaos.
Making Sicilian friends and sharing with us the love for their land was also a unique experience of the trip.
And here we leave you until the next adventure. Another island, a little more distant. With incredible beaches and sunsets but where we, especially me, miss so much the Sicilian gastronomy. For example, the best pizza in Italy that we had the privilege to eat in Taormina.
WOULD YOU GUESS WHERE IT WILL BE?
WE WILL RETURN SOON TRAVELERS. WITH MANY ADVENTURES AND THE SAME WILL AS EVER.