According to legend, Acireale is named after the young shepherd Acis, son of the god Pan, protector of mountains and woods. Acis was hopelessly in love with the beautiful Galatea, one of the fifty Nereids, the nymphs of the sea.
But Galatea was also loved by Polyphemus, the cyclops who lived in the bowels of the volcano.
One day, jealous at the sight of the lovers, Polyphemus killed young Acis by throwing a large boulder at him.
The sight of Galatea embracing Acis’ body and crying inspired pity in the Gods, who turned Acis’ blood into a river.
The meeting of the waters of Jaci with the sea symbolises the perpetual union between the two lovers.