Acireale, Italy

Travel to Acireale

Acireale (Italian: [ˌatʃireˈaːle]; Sicilian: Jaciriali, locally shortened to Jaci or Aci) is a coastal city and comune in the north-east of the Metropolitan City of Catania, Sicily, southern Italy, at the foot of Mount Etna, on the coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is home to numerous churches, including the Neo-Gothic St. Pietro's Basilica, St. Sebastiano's Basilica in the Sicilian Baroque style, and the 17th century Acireale Cathedral, and a seminary, for the training of priests. Acireale is also noted for its art and paintings: the oldest academy in Sicily, the "Accademia dei Dafnici e degli Zelanti", is located here.

According to tradition, the city's origins trace back to Xiphonia, a mysterious Greek city whose location is unknown. In Roman times, there existed another Greek town, Akis, which was involved in the Punic Wars. In Ovid's Metamorphoses, there is a great love between Ā́cis, the spirit of the Ā́cis River, and Galatea the sea-nymph. According to mythology, the tears of Galatea after the death of Ā́cis gave birth to the Ā́cis River, Fiume di Jaci, flowing past Acireale (the ancient Akis or Acium). The Romans called the town Acium, and it was on the main road from Catana to Tauromenium. The Romans used the thermal springs located here.

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