Guide to Scicli
A Baroque jewel in the province of Ragusa, just five km away from the sea, Scicli lies in a valley overlooked by hills. Chosen by several directors as the perfect setting for their films, the city strikes you with the powerful combination of wild nature and exquisite Baroque architecture.
The early settlement of Scicli on the hill of San Matteo goes back to the time of the Sikels. Later, between the XIV and XVI century, it progressively expanded to the plane in the valley when it was also rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake.
As the other Baroque cities of the Val di Noto, the reconstruction of Scicli enriched the city with many wonderful churches and palaces built between 1700 and 1800, like: the Church of Santa Teresa, the Church of San Giovanni, the Church of San Bartolomeo and Palazzo Beneventano which are all included on the Unesco 's World Heritage List.
The city has been chosen for its beauty as the setting for films by different directors, the latest in 2004 was Marco Bellocchio who chose Scicli to film its next movie entitled "Il regista dei matrimoni". Many Italians are now also familiar with Via Mormino Penna which is the set of the police headquarter of the famous TV series on Commissioner Montalbano.
Outside the city centre, the Castello dei Tre Cantoni and the Chiarafura caves, dug out in the tufa rocks and used until 1958 by some people as houses, are also worth a visit. On the coast you can enjoy the long sandy beaches and the villages of Donnalucata, Cava d'Aliga and Sampieri especially popular on summer.
The economy of the city is mostly based on agriculture and the countryside around it is famous for its numerous greenhouses that produce early fruits, the "primizie", which are exported all over Italy.
Scicli is also famous for some religious festivities: for example the Presepe (nativity scenes) set up in the caves for Christmas, the Easter celebrations with the procession of the "Uomo Vivo" on Easter Sunday and the "horse parade" in honour of San Giuseppe in March, where horses with colourful decorations made of flowers are taken from Scicli to the town of Donnalucata.
The most important of all celebrations is the "A Maronna i Milici", which takes place in May, and is the re-enactment of a legendary battle between the Normans and the Saracens (1091). The legend wants that the former were loosing when, suddenly, in response to the prayers of the locals, the Virgin Mary appeared on a white horse holding a sword and led the Normans to victory.