The Cyclopean Islands

The origin of the ionic coast The "Pillows" The columnar basalts  

The Lachea island 

Lachea Island is part of the small Lacheo archipelago that is in front of the sea of Acitrezza. “L’Isola” (The island), as commonly it is called from the inhabitants of the place, has an irregular shape, the side in front of Acitrezza is approximately of 250 metres of extension, it has got a surface large more than two hectares. The top of the island is constituted by clays of sandy colour that are situated on the basaltic formations. Always in the advanced part, reachable by stone stairs, there is a manufacturing which is the centre of the ichthyic museum, an old sink and a small dwelling dug into the hardened clay, that probably it was the dormitory of Saint John the anchorite, hermit at the end of the XI century. At the bottom, in front of Acitrezza,there is an other building that is a small centre of the caretaker.

The dwelling of the hermit The rock " monaco "
View of the museum on the Lachea island (on the background, the Etna)

From the beginning to now 

The birth of the Lachea Island and the Faraglioni making part of the  Lacheo archipelago would be approximately to 500,000 years ago, when this zone was interested of a rich submarine eruptive activity that made come up these basaltic-argillaceous formations. The name of Lachea comes from the “Odissea” by Omero, when Ulisse caught up the island in the land of the Cyclopes. Anciently, the island made up of the territory of Ancient Aci, but, when this city was divided, it passed in possession to the Prince Reggio of Campofiorito exactly on the January of the 1672.
When the dynasty of the Reggio ended, the island and the Faraglioni were given in emphyteusis at the beginning of 1800. The year 1828 with the annexation of Acitrezza to the Commune of Acicastello, they began some disputes about the property of the island that passed to the Gravina's family.
In 1869, the senator Luigi Gravina donated it to the University of Catania, whose chancellor was the teacher Andrea Capparelli. The donation previewed that the island was used for scientific studies. In fact, it was only reached the construction of the small museum.
The island become a famous landing place for bathing between 1960 and 1990. The evening of the 23rd June 1982, some lights were installed on the Island and the Faraglioni illuminating in a wonderful way these huge rocks. But these lights made hard contrasts of natural type. In fact, they were taken off and in the 1990 it was instituted the reservoir marine. Unfortunately, the island and the Faraglioni are in this reserve,so today have become nearly inaccessible. However, today the Lachea island is opening to new scenes thanks, also, to the management of the University of Catania that has already restructured the two small buildings situated on the big rock.

Fauna and flora

Lachea island is famous also for a rare reptile living on the island, seen that it is impossible for him the earthly contact. The lizard called Podarcis sicula ciclopica is an endemic subspecies, that remained alone for thousands of years from the species present on the firm earth, it has had different evolution making it become rare. There are other types of invertebrates like Collemboli, Coleopters, Imenotteri and Lepidotteri. Among the Aracnidi Gnafosidi there is in particular the Urozelotes mysticus, only example on the island. Interesting can be among the birds, that they make just the nest on the island, the so-called "passera sarda" Sardinian hen-sparrow. In winter, the island becomes the refuge of  seagulls and cormorants.

Flora of the island Lachea was surely damaged by the exploitation that was made of its ground, with the cultivations, at the beginning of 1800, when it was given in emphyteusis. Such systems have modified the  natural evolution of the flora.
Today among the species living on the island we can remind these ones: sonchus oleraceus , Ferula communis , Senecio vulgaris , Chrysanthemum coronarium , the highest Ailanthus.

One in particular is the Catapondium marinum, typical species of the areas to contact with ma
rine water

Copyright© 2000-2002 Grasso Giovanni - Antonio Guarnera. Tradotto da Mario Grasso. Translated by Mario Grasso. Tutti i diritti sono riservati. All rights reserved. Vietata la riproduzione anche parziale

Renewed: 04-02-02 .