The town, which sits in a valley between rocky hills just 40km from the Resort, is famous for its baroque buildings. Among these the Benevento Palace, one of the most interesting of the entire Ragusa area. In the former monastery of San Michele there is the “Museo del Costume Mediterraneo” where to find out about the customs and culture of Val di Noto. The Town Hall and via Mormino Penn have become familiar spots to viewers of the TV series “Il Commissario Montalbano”.
Settlements of the area of Scicli dates back to theCopper and Early Bronze Ages (3rd millennium BC to the 15th century BC). Scicli was founded by the Sicels (whence probably the name) around 300 BCE. In the Middle Ages, like all of Sicily, Scicli was ruled by the Arabs, under whom it lived a flourishing period as agricultural and trade center, and then, after its conquest by Roger I of Hauteville in 1091, by the Normans. Scicli was one of the garrison rebelled against theAngevine domination in the Sicilian Vespers (April 5, 1282). Following the various dynasties ruling the Kingdom of Sicily, it was an Aragonese-Spanish possession before being united in the Kingdom of Italy in the mid nineteenth century. Following a catastrophic earthquake in 1693, much of the town was rebuilt in the Sicilian baroque style, which today gives the town the elegant appearance that draws many tourists to visit it.
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The city is also frequently used as a film set, most recently for Marco Bellocchio’s “Il regista di matrimony”i and is popular in Italy as the home of Il Commissario Montalbano, a popular television series. The city is also notable for its religious parades which includes “Presepe” (nativity scenes) enacted in the caves surrounding the city at Christmas time. These caves, known as the “Chiarafura” caves, were dug out in the tuff cliffs, and some were inhabited by the local poor as recently as 1958. At Easter, the city celebrates with the “Uomo Vivo” parade which involves a long religious procession through the city. A decorated horse parade takes place in March, from Scicli to the neighbouring town of Donnalucata. The most spectacular religious festival, the “A Maronna i Milici” occurs in May, commemorating the appearance of the Madonna on a white horse holding aloft a sword. This encouraged the Christian Normans to defeat the Saracens in 1091.
Some places not to be missed
Church of San Matteo, which was the local Mother Church until 1874. It is located on the eponymous hill in the Old City.
The church of Santa Marìa la Nova, with a huge Neoclassicist façade.
The interior houses a cypresse-wood statue of Madonna della Pietà, probably of Byzantine origin.
The scenographic St. Bartolomeo, in Baroque style.
Palazzo Fava, one of the first and largest Baroque palaces in the town. Notable are the late-Baroque decorations of the portal and the balconies, especially the one on the Via San Bartolomeo.
The Town Hall, the Palazzo Spadaro and the Palazzo Beneventano, all boasting Baroque decorations.