It is there, extravagant and luxurious, at the intersection of three valleys, a few kilometers from the ocean, with its medieval plant, and its neighborhoods filled with rosy homes under the warm sun.
Since 2002, the city that looks like a crib is UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also part of 7 Val di Noto villages. The historical center of the city is a result of the eighteenth-century reconstruction following the 1693 disaster earthquake that decimated the entire city. In his book The cities of the globe, the famous writer Elio Vittorini stated that “it is perhaps the most beautiful city in the world.”
The Street Francesco Mormino Penna is a unique scenery made of eighteenth century noble palaces (Palazzo Spadaro, Palazzo Bonelli, Palace Conti, Palazzo Porcelli-Battaglia-Sgarlata-Veneziano, Palazzo Papaleo, Palazzo Carpentieri, Palazzo di Citta, Palazzo Donzelli-Iacono) and ecclesiastical baroque architectures (Church of San Giovanni Evangelista, Church of San Michele, Church of Santa Teresa) all built with local white stone. Anthony Blunt, an English art historian, once said that Beneventano Palace was the most beautiful Baroque palace in Sicily. It is well-known for its Moorish head masks.
We arrive at Piazza Italia from here. It is surrounded by many buildings such as Palace Massari and Palace Mormina-penna. Palace Scrofani, Palace Iacono and Palace Scrofani. The beautiful balcony of the Griffins can also be seen. Piazza Italia is the ideal place to reach San Giuseppe/Altobello, the Church of San Giuseppe and the Quarry of San Bartolomeo. This natural canyon is formed by the water from the San Bartolomeo stream on the calcareous rocks and encloses the beautiful Homonym Church. From here we will arrive at the Grottos of Chiafura of Byzantine Origin.
Piazza Busacca in the nineteenth century is dominated by the statue of Pietro di Lorenzo (also known as Busacca) and is surrounded by the massive complex of the Church, the Convent of the Carmine, Palazzo Busacca or Palazzo Scimone. We can see the quarry of Santa Maria the Nova from the south side of the square. One behind the other, we can see the Church and the Convent of San Domenico. Since 1994, the Pity.
Scicli’s historic center is complemented by another soul. It rests on the hills where the ancient settlement was built, before the 1693 earthquake. The entire town is overlooked by the magnificent Churh de St. Matteo, the main church that was built up to 1874 and which has become the symbol of the city’s identity. The homonymous hill still contains the Churches of Santa Lucia and Santo Spirito and the Military Architecture of the Castiddazzu. Also, the Castle of the Tre Cantoni, or triquetro, can be seen. Another hill is the Croce, which is rich in religious architectures. It’s also known as franciscan due to the many convents built by the Order: the Convent of the Capuchins within Villa Penna and Santa Maria della Croce.
The Calvary church is also located on the hill. There are a few small churches scattered throughout the city: the 17th-century Church of Santa Maria of Piedigrotta; the Church of St. Pietro; the Madonna of the Catena; and the small hermitage of St. Guglielmo, Saint Patron of the City.
There are rare frescos and paintings inside the churches and buildings. It is worth mentioning the 17th-century painting of Christ in Burgos. Also known as “Christ with skirt”, it depicts a crucified Christ dressed in a white clerical gown with a lace border. It is unique in Europe and the only known example of a similar sculpture is a wooden one from the Church of Santa Maria, Burgos. Mattia Preti also mentioned the Deposition St. Bartholomeo.
Many Festivals which intertwine religion and folklore are held in Scicli throughout the entire year. The Spring Triptych, which is extremely important, starts in March with the Ride of San Giuseppe, a unique Flower Festival that recalls the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt. Next, the rites of the Holy Week go from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday with the Feast of Joy, also known as Feast of the Living Man. The Spring Festivals come to an end with the Feast of the Virgin Warrior, or Madonna of the Militia, which takes place on the last Saturday of May. This unique Madonna, not only riding but holding a sword, is the protagonist of the Feast of the Virgin Warrior. She helped the people of Scicli and the Normans in their fight against the Saracens in 1091. The party’s core is the celebration of the events that led up to the battle, in which the Virgin appeared riding on a horse.
All three spring festivals have been World Intangible Heritagesince 2011, along with the Songs to the Immaculate Conception, the Landscape of the Hyblaean Countryside, which is characterized by dry stone walls & carob trees.
Scicli is also a hub for the contemporary arts in Europe. The city has a school of sculpture and painting called Group of Scicli. It includes Piero Guccione, Franco Sarnari, then Franco Polizzi and Carmelo Candiano. Palace Spadaro, Via Francesco Mormino Penna, exposes some of the jobs done by these masters.
Scicli also means sea There are twenty kilometers of coastline and eighteen beaches. The sea is crystal clear. Four fishing villages can be found. From east to west: Playa Grande Donnalucata Cava d’Aliga, Sampieri. Playa Grande is bordered by the WWF Reserve Macchia Forest river Irminio to the west. Donnalucata, the oldest and most famous beach in the area, is also known as “Al-Ayn-Awqat” which means “source of hours”, meaning that fresh water was pumped on the beach five times a day. This is similar to Muslim prayers.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Militia (or Mormino Palace) is a must-see. Sampieri is a tiny nineteenth-century seaside resort. It has a beautiful half-moon-shaped beach that leads to Punta Pisciotto. Furnace Penna, an abandoned brick factory, overlooks the shoreline. It is an excellent example of industrial archaeology and a true “Cathedral of the Sea”. Sampieri has been visited by many notable visitors, including Guttuso and Pasolini, as well as Roberto Benigni, Giorgio Armani, Giorgio Armani, and Guccione in the present.
Since 1999 Scicli has been the main location in the Rai 1 fiction HTML3_ “Il Commissario Montalbano” HTML3_ and, starting 2012, of “Il Giovane Montalbano” HTML3_. Via Francesco Mormino Penna is where Montalbano’s car is parked, becoming, for this occasion, the Commissioner to Vigata.
Other locations include the Terrace of PiazzaCarmine, the Church, the Quarry of St. Bartolomeo and Palace Iacono. The Palace of the Pretura has also changed the exterior side of Palace Iacono. Piazza ArmandoDiaz is the Madonna of the Rosary complex, Via Duca degli Abruzzi. The port of Donnalucata is found in the villages, as well as its beachfront, which now hosts the promenade by Marinella. Sampieri is near the Fornace Pena. The Mannara, a place full of prostitution and crimes, was the setting for the Montalbano episode “The smells of the night”.