The Castle of Aci which stands on a promontory of lava rock, overlooking the sea, is an original jewel built on previous architectural traces, by Federico Secondo, and is the testimony of geological phenomena linked to the Etna volcano.

At the center of the fortress is the quadrangular tower, the fulcrum of the manor.

Historically a first castle was built in the seventh century after Christ by the Byzantines on a pre-existing fortification of the Roman period perhaps from 38 after Christ.

During the period of Greek colonization and Roman domination, the fortress on which the ruins of the Norman castle stand was frequented for its strategic position, which allowed control of the sea and the passage of ships heading towards the Strait of Messina.

Although the remains of structures from that period have not been preserved, probably due to the destruction of the coastal fortresses by the Arabs, the ancient writers have left us the memory of famous naval battles fought in these waters and also the archaeological finds, especially the submarine ones, exhibited in the showcases of the Civic Museum, testify to the ancient attendance of these places.

In the summer of 902, the castle and fortifications were razed by the Muslims.

When the Norman conquerors Roberto il Guiscardo and Ruggero D'Altavilla arrived, the feudal system was introduced throughout the region and in 1092 the castle of Aci and the surrounding area were also granted to the abbot and bishop of Catania and it was the first act concerning the land of Aci.

The 1169 eruption was preceded on February 4 by one of the most deadly earthquakes in memory.

The lava from that eruption invested the territory of Aci and reached as far as the castle, filling the arm of the sea that separated it from the coast.

During the Vespers, Frederick III of Aragon granted the "University of Aci", formed by the castle and the territory of Aci, to Admiral Ruggero di Lauria in 1297.

After a few years, when Ruggero di Lauria passed with the Angevins against the Aragonese court, King Federico had the castle conquered.

In the fifteenth century, again, the land of Aci changed hands, in a succession of families, until 1530, when it returned to the Royal State property.

In the seal of the new royal university, the castle of Aci was the main symbol together with the stacks of Aci Trezza.

From the mid-sixteenth century the castle was first used as a barracks and then as a prison.

In the seventeenth century the Castle experienced a renewed splendor, also due to the radical restructuring work commissioned in 1634 by King Philip the Third.  

It will therefore suffer the damage of the Val di Noto earthquake of 11 January 1693.

It will return to the municipal property in the Bourbon era in the nineteenth century.

In 1877 Giovanni Verga wrote the short story "The stories of the Castle of Trezza" set right on the manor.

In the years 1967-1969 it was restored, and therefore since 1985 it has been open to visitors and home to the Civic Museum.

In one of the terraces there is a botanical garden made up of succulent plants from every corner of the world (Bolivia, Mexico, Morocco, Madagascar and Peru).


The civic museum consists of three sections: mineralogical, paleontological and archaeological.


In the mineralogical section the minerals of the islands of the Cyclops of Aci Castello are exhibited.

We also find interesting exhibitions with the "Sicilian chalky solifera series" (complex succession of sedimentary rocks deposited in the Miocene age), minerals from the Calabrian-Peloritan area, the African Desert Rose, and some minerals from Arizona, India, Morocco.


It houses fossils that can be traced back to the time interval that goes from the Mesozoic era to the Pleistocene.

The introduction consists of panels that illustrate the geological history of the earth, and in particular the drift of the continents, with a central panel that illustrates the evolution of the geological structure of our peninsula.

The fossils found in the territory of Aci Castello deserve particular attention.


It houses artifacts and man's tools from prehistory to the Middle Ages.

Interesting is the example of a hearth that has preserved the remains of a meal and a series of lithic tools that testify to the Mesolithic, the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, the Greek age, with the beautiful Daunian vase from the fifth - fourth century BC, and the Roman age with the remains of large vases from the furnace of Aci Castello.

There is also an underwater archeology section.

Two different anchoring systems are exhibited. The first rather primitive, dating back to the Bronze Age, the second more evolved, in use in the Hellenic and Roman ages.

A very rare piece is the bronze marra point which was used to reinforce the ancient anchors at the point of greatest friction with the seabed.


The Botanical Garden of Aci Castello is located in one of the terraces of the Norman Castle.

Different varieties of plants are exhibited in the open air inside the Botanical Garden.

Of particular naturalistic importance are the succulent plants present, coming from every corner of the world (Bolivia, Mexico, Morocco, Madagascar and Peru).

Today the maintenance of the Botanical Garden is taken care of annually by the Lions Club Acicastello Riviera dei Ciclopi which, in the 2022/2023 social year, also created and donated the plates, placed near the plants, with the scientific names of the various specimens of succulents present.