Acireale, Sicily; with some splendid buildings and artworks

Photo of Acireale in East Sicily

Visit Acireale

Acireale is a coastal town on the east of Sicily not far from the city of Catania'. It was an important medieval town that got further developed in the 16th and 17th century with the addition of some fine Baroque achitecture.

Explore Acireale

Head to the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral square) to admire some of Acireale's finest buildings which are situated around the square. These are the cathedral, the Saint Peter and Paul basilica, the Municipal palace and the Modo palace.

The cathedral is a beautiful golden building which dates back to the 15th century but was renovated later. The basilica dates to the 16th and 17th century and is in Baroque style. Both the basilica and the cathedral contain art works by Pietro Paulo Vasta (1697-1760) one of Acireale's most famous artists. He was responsible for much of the decorations of buildings following the earthquake of 1693 which caused a lot of damage.

To see more works by Pietro Paulo Vasta visit the Zalantea art gallery. As well as works by local artists it contains archeaological finds from the area.

More Baroque architecture can be seen on the Town Hall as well as a number of palaces in the city including Palazzo Pennisi and Palazzo Modo.

If you wish to follow in Lord Byron's footsteps then head south of the town for the viewpoint of the Belvedere di Santa Caterina with views over the Ionian Sea. Another good place for views are the gardens of the Villa Belvedere at the end of corso Umberto I. These pretty gardens have views over the sea and over Mount Etna.

The carnival of Acireale is extremely popular, indeed one of the most popular on Sicily. The Acireale carnival dates back to the 16th century. Festivities last a week and include a processsion of floats made up to depict personnages of history and politics. The real carnival is in February but it is so popular and the floats so good that it is repeated with another procession of the floats in Augusts when everyone can benefit from the warm evenings as well as the festivities.

Places to Visit Nearby

Head down to the coast and the Timpa nature reserve on a promontory into the sea. With volconic rocks and dense vegetation it is a haven for wildlife and plants.

Acireale is south of the coastal city of Catania which also contains many fine Baroque buildings. Aci-Trezza is nearby on the coast and looks over the wonderful Islands of the Cyclops.

Trips to Mount Etna are also extremely popular.

See also:

Map of Acireale and places nearby

Acireale places to visit