Welcome to Acireale, a beautiful coastal city located in the north-east of the Metropolitan City of Catania, Sicily, Italy. Situated at the foot of Mount Etna and facing the Ionian Sea, Acireale is a city of rich history, stunning architecture, and delicious local cuisine. With numerous churches such as the Neo-Gothic St. Pietros Basilica and the 17th century Acireale Cathedral, along with a seminary for the training of priests, Acireale is a city deeply rooted in religion and culture. Its art scene is also noteworthy, with the oldest academy in Sicily, the Accademia dei Dafnici e degli Zelanti, located in the city. 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. Acireale is also famous for its Carnival, the oldest document mentioning the Carnival of Acireale dates to 1594.

Acireale is home to many secular sites and buildings, including Villa Belvedere and Parco delle Terme, two large public parks with stunning nature sights, as well as La Timpa, a beautiful natural reserve overlooking the Ionian Sea. Piazza Duomo, with the twin churches of the Acireale Cathedral and Santi Pietro e Paolo, is in the main square of the city. Palazzo della Città, Acireale Palazzo Pennisi, Palazzo Modò, and Palazzo Musmeci, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, are also must-visit sites. The commercial city center, primarily located in the streets including and adjacent to Corso Umberto and Corso Italia, are the city’s principal thoroughfares. The Fortezza del Tocco, a 16th-century fort, has been converted to a nature reserve.

The city also houses several religious sites such as the Acireale Cathedral, Sant’Antonio di Padova, San Biagio, San Camillo, San Domenico, Santa Maria degli Agonizzanti, Santa Maria del Suffragio, Church of the Oratory, Santi Pietro e Paolo and San Sebastiano: Collegiate Basilica.

Acireale is a City of Studies with several Secondary schools, public and private, divided between high schools, technical and professional institutes, which are also largely attended by students from neighboring municipalities.

In Acireale, history is often accompanied by legend, especially in the myth of its foundation. The paronymal legend, from which the name of the city and of the hamlets would originate, was the idyll of love between Acis and Galatea. The granita, an excellent refreshment from the summer mugginess, in Acireale is considered almost a ritual. Generally, it is served in its basic almond-flavored recipe and accompanied by a brioche. Lemon granita is also very common. Another typical food of the Acesis summer is seltzer with lemon and salt, sold at the numerous kiosks that are found in the streets of the city. The pastries are renowned, in which the zeppole of rice with honey (also called crispelle di San Giuseppe in other municipalities), the cannoli filled with chocolate cream, white cream or ricotta, small pastry products and artisan gelato are its crowned jewels and the diners with fresh baked goods (arancini, cartocciate, cipolline, etc.) as well as sweet breakfast products (croissants, panzerotti, raviole filled with ricotta cheese, iris filled with chocolate cream or white cream).

Acireale is a city full of events. It hosts costume and float parades during the carnival season, and the most ancient document mentioning the Carnival of Acireale dates back to 1594. Acireale, along with its district, is also known for the Etna Lemon, which obtained the prestigious recognition I.G.P. by the European Union in October 2020.

Come and explore the beauty of Acireale, a city that has something for everyone.

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