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THE MYTH OF POLYPHEMUS, ACI AND GALATEA

Then meeting will come to you the beautiful
Trinacria island beaches, where
She shepherds the flock of the Sun, shepherds the herd.
(Homer, Odyssey)

Legend tells us how Ulysses, returning to Ithaca, landed on the Island of the Cyclops where he was hosted by the frightening Polyphemus. The great Cyclops, forged inside the volcano Etna, the lightning bolts that were used by Zeus. During his stay Polyphemus devoured many of Ulysses’ companions, who, in order to save himself, got him drunk and blinded his only eye. Taken by anger, Polyphemus began to throw large boulders at his ships, thus originating the Faraglioni, currently located in front of Acitrezza.

This small archipelago, formed by three large rocks and one islet, gives the panorama a magical atmosphere of rare beauty. Shaped by the wind and the sea, the Faraglioni rise from the water in all their magnificence and with special and unique shapes. The largest rock formation is formed by the island Lachea, consisting mainly of basaltic rocks. It is a protected reserve, established in 1998 in order to maintain and safeguard the vegetation and fauna, as well as to protect the endemic lizard Podarcis sicula cyclopica, Taddei.

Another interesting legend linked to these places is that of Aci. This story clarifies why several neighboring countries have this area code in common.

The myth of Aci tells the story of a shepherd who loved and reciprocated the beautiful sea nymph Galatea. The ruthless Polyphemus, jealous of this sentiment, killed the poor Aci leaving Galatea in despair, who mourned him on the shores of the sea.

The gods, softened by the sad fate of the shepherd, transformed Aci into a river, so that every day, he and Galatea could meet at sea. The various towns in the area take their names from this legend, including Acitrezza, Aci Castello and Acireale.

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