town and episcopal see, eastern Sicily, Italy, on terraces above the Ionian Sea at the foot of Mount Etna, 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Catania. Known as Aquilia by the Romans, the town was called Reale by Philip IV of Spain in 1642. The first part of its name is derived from the ancient Acis River, which according to legend welled forth at the death of the shepherd Acis, beloved by the Nereid Galatea. Much of the present town was built after the earthquake of 1693. Notable landmarks include the cathedral (1597-1618), with a modern facade; the Baroque church of San Sebastiano; the town hall (1659) containing a library, museum, and picture gallery; an observatory; a fruit experimental station; and the sulfur springs called Santa Venera.
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