Aci Catena (CT): A commune of Sicily, in the province of Catania.
Former Names (if any): (Sic.: Jaci Catena). Scarpi or Contrada delli Scarpi.
Region: Sicilia│ Province: Catania.
Coordinates: Lat. 37° 35′ 49″N/Long. 15° 8′ 27″ E.
Location/Setting: Located 18 km NE of Catania, it is situated in a hilly coastal area at the SE. foot of M. Etna. Part of the Regione Agraria n. 7 – Colline litoranee di Acireale.
Alt.: 170 m.
Area: 8.45 km².
Population: 28,090 (2006e).
Pop. Density: /km².
Frazioni & Localities: Aci S.Filippo, Aci S.Lucia, S.Nicolò, Vampolieri, Eremo S.Anna.
Tel. Prefix: 095
Name of Inhabitants: Catenoti.
Patron Saint(s): Maria SS. della Catena. Feast Day: Jan. 11 & Aug. 15.
Economy: It has an active industry in the production of perfumes. Agriculture dominates the rest of the economy. Principal products include fruit, vegetables, and citrus fruits.
History: There is evidence that the site was settled in ancient times. The center was originally called Scarpi, or Contrada delli Scarpi (the shoe district), so-named because of the many cobblers who lived there. The present town arose in the 16th century around the Church of Madonna della Catena. During the second part of the 17th century, it was a fief of the Riggio family, Princes of Campofiorito, who continued to hold it until the end of feudalism in the early 19th century. The devastating earthquake of 1693 caused significant damage but also brought many refugees from other towns to settle here, increasing the town’s size and local importance. A natural calamity of a different type, a great flood, occurred in 1761, killing many people. In 1826, the town’s name was changed to Aci Catena to honor Maria Santissima della Catena.
Damage was suffered from earthquakes in 1669, 1693, 1818, 1894, 1911, 1947, and 1990.
Points of Interest: It is known as the Città del Limone Verdello (City of the Verdello Lemon).
Monuments: The principal secular monument is the Palazzo Riggio di Campofiorito, dating from the 17th century. It is in a poor state of preservation.
There are archaeological remains dating back to Greco-Roman times.
Churches (& other religious sites): The present Church of Sant’Antonio di Padova dates to the 17th century. Its treasures include two works by the painter Pietro Paolo Vasta (1697-1760), a 17th century Crucifix by Fra Umile di Petralia, and several marble statues.
The Chiesa Madre, originally founded in the 16th century, was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693. Its interior contains a fresco of “Rebecca alla Fonte” by Pietro Paolo Vasta.
The Church of San Filippo d’Agira has a beautiful 18th century façade created by Francesco Battaglia (1701-1778).
The 17th century Church of San Giuseppe has a large, notable dome.
The church of Santa Lucia also dates to after the earthquake of 1693.
The church of the Hermitage of S. Anna contains some fine majolica pavement.
Chiesa di S. Antonio di Padova,
Chiesa dell’Eremo di S. Anna,
Chiesa di S. Giacomo,
Chiesa di S. Maria della Catena,
Chiesa di S. Maria della Consolazione
The Chiesa Madre in the frazione of Aci San Filippo has a beautiful 18th century façade. The associated campanile has a lava stone plinth.
Festival in the frazione of Aci San Filippo- May 12
Feast of Maria Santissima della Catena– August 15.
Sagra del limone Verdello (festival of the Verdello lemon)- August.