Aci Sant’Antonio, Sicily

Aci Sant’Antonio, Sicily, it’s my hometown. Anybody visiting me, after a little traveling around in the area, would eventually ask; Aci Sant’Antonio, Acireale, Aci Trezza, Aci Castello, Aci San Filippo…What all those Aci means? The story is told by the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC – AD 18), known as Ovid.  He wrote (Metamorphoses Bk XIII:738-788) that, Aci, a young shepherd,  was in a romantic relationship with Galatea, a sea-nymph. But the Cyclops Polyphemus, living on Mount Etna, was jealous and eventually he killed Aci. In great sorrow, Galatea obtained that the Gods turned Aci into a river so they would meet again, forever, on the seashores. How romantic!


Samantha Stout

Following Morgantina, Syracuse, Termini Imerese, another art examination took place in my hometown, Aci Sant’Antonio.

There was a river called Aci, but it disappeared since Mt Etna’s many eruptions eventually rearranged the landscape.   There was also a Greek town, Acis, which survived for centuries until 1169, when a huge earthquake eventually scattered its population into the many Aci’s boroughs; Aci San Filippo, Acireale, Aci  Castello, Aci Sant’Antonio,..

I enjoy perform some scientific art examination in my village which has some interesting case studies. Just recently, in the main Church, some frescoes were discovered. At the four angles of the Crocifisso Chapel, during some renovation works, older frescoes were found behind the neoclassic decoration. How interesting! I commend the solution found to preserve both  access to the just discovered frescoes and the later style of the chapel.

Crocifisso Chapel, Chiesa Madre, Aci Sant’Antonio, 360 view.

I had already some multispectral imaging done during a training section in July and later in August I had the opportunity to have Samantha Stout, PhD student at University of California San Diego, to perform X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy on those frescoes’ pigments.


samantha stout xrf

Crocifisso Chapel, Chiesa Madre, Aci Sant’Antonio. The just discovered original frescoes were preserved in all the four corners of the chapel, behind the later 19th century decoration.


samantha stout

Crocifisso Chapel, Chiesa Madre, Aci Sant’Antonio. Samantha Stout, PhD Student, University of California San Diego, is performing X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy with a Bruker Tracer SD-III.


samantha stout

Crocifisso Chapel, Chiesa Madre, Aci Sant’Antonio. Samantha Stout, examined two of the four frescoes, those on the left and right of the entrance.

Aci Sant’Antonio boasts also one of the few last Sicilian cart painters; Master Domenico Di Mauro, currently 100 years old and 3 months. We visited his studio, he‘s still working, and we analyzed some 1920′ pieces of his collection of Sicilian carts.

Samantha Stout

This cart could be thought as the masterpiece of Sicilian carts technique. Painted by Master Domenico Di Mauro.


Samantha Stout

This cart piece was painted by Vincenzo Di Mauro in the 1920′ and it’s among the few oldest remaining with the original decoration.







  1. Kathy Kelly April 26, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    Hi, I am studying the monastic Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony and literature claims a hospital was located in Sicily. I am trying to determine the precise location. Would you know of this? Also, the old fresco shows a man kneeling with black gloves or something. Do you have a better photo?

    • Antonino Cosentino April 27, 2017 at 4:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Kathy,
      thanks for your interest to our local history.I suggest you contact the local parish This is the website. Look for “contatti” There are a bunch of emails you can write to. They will know much more than me or will give you better contacts.

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