Fresh food, wine, folklore, music and sea are the frame of the magnificent Cyclopean coastline, which was described by Homer in his poem the Odyssey. Those who happened to visit the area near Aci Trezza, a small village near the sea, part of the municipality of Aci Castello and in the province of Catania, between June 9th and 11th found one of the most long-standing local feasts: St. John the Baptist Feast of swordfish.
It is an event that local people have been celebrating for 28 years on June 24th, on the occasion of the solemn celebrations in honour of St. John the Baptisit, Saint Patron of the village.
For the inhabitants of Aci Trezza, swordfish is one of the products that most represents their village: vessels carry it to the shore to be sold all over Sicily. Originally, (in 1960) the feast of swordfish was called “Il Padellone” and was the feast of fried fish cooked in a very big pan. Not celebrated for a while, the tradition started again in the 80’s and it is now one of the most popular events for food and folklore in eastern Sicily. In order to have a taste of the fish, you need to go to Scalo di Alaggio, near the port, where you can find four big grills. There, the fish is cooked and seasoned with olive oil, oregano, salt and fresh lettuce and served with a glass of an excellent white wine and homemade bread: a real delight for the palate. Fish is the star of Sicilian cuisine and this feast has proven it once again. But that is not all. At Scalo di Alaggio, you can also buy a memento at the stands, which display handicrafts and other typical local products.
The Feast of swordfish is also an occasion for tourists (always numerous at this time of the year) to admire the beauties of this small village of fishermen, praised by the writer Giovanni Verga and filmed in the movie “La terra trema” by Luchino Visconti. In particular, it is possible to visit “Casa del Nespolo” (the house of Malavoglia family from the Italian novel I Malavoglia) and John the Baptist Church. After tasting the local swordfish, why don’t you have a delicious ice cream at one of the many ice cream parlours in the area or a soda in one of the stands near the beach. From Verga to Homer: yes, Aci Trezza is mentioned even in the Odyssey. The panorama that this little village offers is towered by the Cyclopean Rocks, picturesque basaltic rocks which, according to the legend, were thrown at an escaping Ulysses by Polyphemus. Not far from the coast (400 km of distance), you can see Lachea Island, which is mentioned in the Odyssey as “Goat Island” and where nowadays a branch of the University of Catania focused on Biology studies is housed. The whole area is a marine protected area since 2004.
Did you miss the event? Don’t worry, from July 7th to 9th the feast is going to take place again in Aci Trezza. Come to Sicily during this time and discover the flavours and the beauties of Acitrezza!