The Fortezza del Tocco is a fort in Acireale. It was built in the 16th century to defend the city from attacks by pirates.
After the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the Barbary pirates continued to raid the Sicilian coastline. In 1582, Uluç Ali attempted to raid Acireale. Although the raid was unsuccessful, the population were afraid of further attacks and began fortifying the area.
The Spanish (then the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily) built the Fortezza del Tocco between 1592 and 1616. The fort was designed by Camillo Camilliani and Vincenzo Geremia. Other nearby fortifications that were also built around the same time as the Fortezza del Tocco include the Torre Alessandrano, the Torre di Sant'Anna and the Garitta di S. Tecla.
Some modifications were made to the fort in the early 17th century. It repelled a French attack in 1675.
The fort lost its importance and was decommissioned in the 19th century. Its last guns were removed in 1834, and were taken to the Pinacoteca Zelantea de Acireale, where they remain today.
Since 1999, the fort and the surrounding area have been a nature reserve. It is open to the public.References:
The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was part of the federal sanctuary of the three Gauls dedicated to the cult of Rome and Augustus celebrated by the 60 Gallic tribes when they gathered at Lugdunum (Lyon). The amphitheatre was built at the foot of the La Croix-Rousse hill at what was then the confluence of the Rhône and Saône.
Excavations have revealed a basement of three elliptical walls linked by cross-walls and a channel surrounding the oval central arena. The arena was slightly sloped, with the building"s south part supported by a now-vanished vault. The arena"s dimensions are 67,6m by 42m. This phase of the amphitheatre housed games which accompanied the imperial cult, with its low capacity (1,800 seats) being enough for delegations from the 60 Gallic tribes.
The amphitheatre was expanded at the start of the 2nd century. Two galleries were added around the old amphitheatre, raising its width from 25 metres to 105 metres and its capacity to about 20,000 seats. In so doing it made it a building open to the whole population of Lugdunum and its environs.