Food Excellence Magazine All articles Villages Flavors Itineraries
Aci Trezza,  where nature becomes myth

Aci Trezza,
where nature becomes myth

26 February 2021

The village immortalised by poets, writers and filmmakers

Scilla is a tiny Calabrian municipality to the north of Reggio Calabria, sitting on the coast between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the foothills of the Aspromonte Mountains. The ancient and legendary village of Scilla sits atop a high rocky outcrop rising from the sea of the Costa Viola (Violet Coast), so-named on account of the colour the sea takes on during certain parts of the day. A unique spot that CNN added to its list of the most beautiful villages in Italy, a seaside tourist destination capable of attracting writers, poets and artists from all over the world.
Here one can experience the history and culture of the sea, nurtured by the ancient Greek myth of Scylla and Charybdis. Legend has it that Scylla, an extraordinarily beautiful nymph, was transformed by the sorceress Aci Trezza, in the province of Catania, is a small enchanting fishing village suspended in history, myth and nature, situated along a stretch of Sicilian coastline sculpted by the molten lava of Etna and shaped by the incessant waves of the Mediterranean. A magical place that could only be found in Sicily, enveloped in mysterious charm since the days of the Ancient Greeks: a place that inspired Homer to describe the titanic struggle between Odysseus and Polyphemus and where Virgil visualised the setting for some of the most famous scenes from his works. This is the mythological backdrop for Aci Trezza's spellbinding sea view, dominated by the Cyclopean Isles, eight tapered basaltic rocks which, together with Lachea Island, make up a small archipelago in a Marine Protected Area. According to the myth, these eight columns are the gigantic rocks thrown at Odysseus by Polyphemus, after Odysseus had managed to blind the giant and make his escape.
In more recent times this village has inspired the likes of Giovanni Verga, who chose it as the setting for his most famous novel “The House by the Medlar Tree”, and Luchino Visconti
who directed the film “The Earth Trembles” inspired by Verga's novel. The house by the medlar tree, where the Malavoglia family lived, has become a must-not-miss for the constant stream of tourists who visit the village. The small dwelling, dating back to the eighteenth century, today houses Museo Trezzoto, the museum dedicated to Visconti's film and the village's fishing tradition. But there are many other reasons to visit the village: the 17th century San Giovanni il Battista Church, with its Baroque façade, the Fattoria del Feudo and its ancient olive press, stable and lemon garden, and Casa Merra, a building near the old harbour which was once an inn.
The Torre dei Faraglioni is also well worth a mention: all that remains of the village's ancient defence system, rising up as a reminder of when pirates used to raid these lands.

Local cuisine, traditional dishes, interesting facts

In the Aci Trezza area, with the natural habitat created by a seabed of volcanic rock, fish and shellfish are the standout stars on local menus. The dishes are therefore naturally inspired by local fishing tradition and the wonderful bounty gifted by the sea, with anchovies, bluefin tuna and sardines “alla beccafico”, rolled in breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, pine nuts and raisins before being cooked in the oven, all becoming an integral part of the local traditional cuisine. Aci Trezza is also said to be the birthplace of ice cream and granita (slush), with tradition associating them with an idea developed by the cook Francesco Procopio Coltelli.

Where to eat enjoying a bottle
of Acqua San Benedetto

Ristorante Grand Hotel Faraglioni. Aci Trezza

A festival that fuses the sacred and the profane

At the end of June Aci Trezza celebrates its patron saint, San Giovanni Battista (John the Baptist), with the traditional pantomime "U Pisci a mari", which takes place on the waters of the tiny harbour, in front of the mythological sea stacks. The traditional Sagra del Pesce Spada di San Giovanni, the swordfish festival, is held during the celebrations: two days of culinary delights dedicated to this fish, the symbol of Aci Trezza's economic development and the main source of income for many local families. The palates of many gourmands flock to this seaside village from all over Sicily, they come to enjoy the delicious swordfish prepared by expert cooks on huge grills ready to churn out delicious dishes right up until the small hours.

Read more
Discover Sicily
Show villages

enjoying a bottle of
San Benedetto water

On the traces of Ancient Sicily

In this adventure, we will immerse ourselves in the wonders of eastern Sicily, exploring a fascinating itinerary that will lead us from the picturesque coasts of Donnalucata to the historic cities of Gela and Marina di Cala del Sole.

On the traces of Ancient Sicily Take me to the itineray
Where to eat

enjoying a bottle of
San Benedetto water

Discover the restaurants of the Sicilia
Go to the articles
Restaurant Owner?
Add San Benedetto to your menu