Greek mythology has always inspired artists through the centuries. Ancient Greek legends influence art in various ways – they are “embedded” in paintings, music, theatre plays and opera, etc. There is no doubt that all of them are romantic and tell the story of love between Ancient Hellenistic Gods, demigods and mortals.
There is one particular myth that has turned into the most romantic “fable” of Antiquity which recounts the story of love and revenge and it goes like this.
Once upon a time there were a great number of settlements in the Province of Catania (on the Island of Sicily) whose names began with Aci, Aci Castello, Aci Catena, Aci Sant’Antoni being only few of the examples. And who was Aci, actually?
Aci was a nice, young shepherd from Sicily. He was the son of Roman God Faunus (Greek God Pan) and Nymph Simetide. He was loved by the beautiful nymph – Galatea, whose name meant “Latte bianco” (or “as white as milk”). Unfortunately, their love was threatened and ended by Cyclops Polyphemus, that was also desperately in love with the Nymph.
One day he surprised the two lovers and he killed Aci from jealousy and lead from the desire to revenge. Galatea was inconsolable and desperate. So, she went to God Neptune and asked him to turn Aci’s blood into a river that flowed into the sea. This way the two lovers would remain together and would be hugged by one another forever and ever.
Since then the river that flows at the foot of Etna has borne that name and has kept the memories of the shepherd as well as the nearby cities and villages have formed the so-called “Riviera of Cyclopes”.