Scicli

Scicli is a baroque town of Val di Noto and rises in the south east of Sicily, in a valley nestled among three hills, 25 km from Ragusa. Listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Cities in 2002, it is a must-see for those who visit the south east of Sicily and for all fans of the tv series “Inspector Montalbano”: here you will find the most famous filming locations. The city has very ancient origins, as showed by the late Bizantine settlements of the archaeological area of Chiafura, and was rebuilt in baroque style after the earthquake of 1693.

Visiting Scicli means going back into the past, among palaces, baroque churches and ancient streets, and be immerged in its lively atmosphere. That’s not all: staying in Scicli you can easily combine a cultural holiday with a relaxing swim in the crystal waters of its seaside hamlets, only 9 km away from the city centre.








What to see in Scicli

Scicly is maybe “the most beautiful of all cities in the world”, said the Italian writer Elio Vittorini in one of his novels. A maze of ancient tiny streets climbing the rocky hills stands above the city centre, rich in majestic baroque churches and noble palaces. A city with an elegant and harmonious architecture that is absolutely worth visiting, also to try its excellent typical cuisine.



Monuments and churches

The baroque and late baroque style reigns undisputed through the streets of the historic centre of Scicli and it is well recognizable from the facades of the churches appearing in every corner. Among the most beautiful ones, there is certainly the Church of San Bartolomeo: “a pearl inside the valves of a shell” said the Italian writer and director Pasolini, when he saw it. Its white limestone rock and the context in which it is used, that is between two rocky hills, justifies actually the writer’s sentence. The church rises in the so-called cava di San Bartolomeo, one of the oldest districts of the town. A hill separates the first cava from a second one called cava di Santa Maria La Nova, another ancient district of Scicli that takes its name from the Church of Santa Maria La Nova. Home to the main traditional festivals and folklore events, these two districts have been "struggling" between them for centuries, in order to be the best in celebrating the most important sacred feasts. For this reason, even today, there are some “double” celebrations of the same feast, each one belonging to one of the two rival districts. In the district of Santa Maria La Nova there is a church nowadays hosting a museum and temporary exhibitions, the Church of S. Maria della Consolazione, whose most ancient parts are prior to the earthquake of 1693 and date back around 1600.

Scicli is located at the slopes of three hills where once rose the old town. There are testimonies of this ancient town, such as the Church of San Matteo, mother church of the city until 1874, and the ruins of a medieval fortification called Castellaccio. Destroyed by the earthquake of 1693, the church was after rebuilt but it was abandoned for many years, reason why nowadays there is almost nothing of the eighteenth-century church. Today it is one of the main symbols of Scicli. Among the monuments to visit, you cannot miss the Convento della Croce, a beautiful religious complex dating back to 1528 that rises on the top of a hill, Colle della Croce, from where you can enjoy a suggestive view over the historic centre. Inside the monastery, you can visit a church, an oratory, a cloister and the monks’ cells. Scicli is rich in historic buildings, two of which are open to visitors and are located in via Francesco Mormino Penna. Palazzo Bonelli is an elegant palace of the nineteenth century with very sumptuous interiors: you will be astonished by its plasters, ancient furniture and original paintings of the early twentieth century. Palazzo Spadaro, built from 1700, preserves rooms in different styles and a wonderful baroque facade with round balconies in wrought iron and rococo decorations. Here is a list of the main monuments of Scicli:

  • Palazzo Beneventano
  • Church of San Matteo
  • Palazzo Fava
  • Palazzo Spadaro
  • Church of San Bartolomeo Apostolo
  • Church of Sant'Ignazio
  • Church of Santa Maria La Nova
  • Convento del Rosario
  • Convento e chiesa del Carmine
  • Church of Maria SS della Consolazione
  • Convento della Croce
  • Church of San Giuseppe
  • Convento dei Cappuccini
  • Church of Santa Teresa
  • Church of San Michele
  • Church of San Giovanni Evangelista


Things to see nearby

From Scicli you can easily move to visit the nearby baroque towns of Val di Noto, such as Ragusa Ibla, Modica and Noto. Modica and Ragusa Ibla are just 10 km and 25 km from Scicli, while Noto is about 60 km. You can go on a one-day tour dedicated to each of these towns. If you have more time and want to know more about the baroque art, we recommend you to visit these pearls of Val di Noto, which will surprise you not only from the architectural point of view.
If you love to go trekking in naturalistic areas, you can explore the Reserve of the river Irminio, extending between Donnalucata and Marina di Ragusa, or have a walk on the hills surrounding Scicli, going through woods, ancient rock quarries and artificial caves. From this point of view, a very interesting site is Parco di Mangiagesso, a naturalistic area located between Scicli and Modica. Inside, there is a picnic area with barbecues, tables and benches, ideal to spend a beautiful day with your family immersed in the nature. The local association Esplorambiente often organizes naturalistic walks with expert local guides, who will let you discover unique places, a few steps from the town.
It is possible to go on a one-day trip to Syracuse and Marzamemi and visit the beautiful Reserve of Vendicari, with its wonderful blue waters and its naturalistic paths through the Mediterranean scrub.



What to see in Scicli in one day: on the trail of Inspector Montalbano

If you only have a short time to visit Scicli, we suggest you a tour of the main monuments to see in one day. The heart of the historic centre of the city, listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2002, is via Francesco Mormino Penna, where the main baroque monuments and the Town Hall are located.
Does the facade of the town hall sound you familiar? That’s right: you are just in front of Vigata’s police station, the fictional town of the tv series “Inspector Montalbano” ispired to Andrea Camilleri’s novels. Visit the Mayor’s office, which in the filming set is the Commissioner’s office, and Montalbano’s office on the ground floor.
If you are a fan of the Sicilian policeman, you will recognize different places that appear in the tv series, while walking around in Scicli.
Near the town hall there is the Church of San Giovanni: its baroque facade has three orders and a bell tower open to visitors. A little further, you can see the Church of San Michele, Palazzo Bonelli, Palazzo Spadaro and the Church of Santa Teresa. Spend some time to visit these monuments, see the artworks made by masters of the baroque art and discover more Montalbano’s locations. The last stop in this street is the Ancient Cartia Pharmacy today converted in a museum preserving inside its original furniture and instruments of the early twentieth century. Also here some scenes of “Inspector Montalbano” have been filmed.
Continue your walk towards Piazza Busacca where the Church of Carmine overlooks, and from here visit the district of Santa Maria La Nova, taking its name from the homonymous church. Be captured by one of the ancient districts of the town, where you can see daily life scenes and learn the Sicilian dialect having a chat with the local elderly.
Proceeding through via Nazionale, cross via Duca d’Aosta and stop in front of the majestic facade of Palazzo Beneventano, rich in grotesque masks, statues and late-baroque faces: this is one of the main examples of Sicilian baroque.
Afterwards you will reach Piazza Italia, from where you can see the Church of San Matteo castled up on a hill facing the square. Visit the Church of Sant’Ignazio, Scicli’s mother church, and keep on going to the district of San Bartolomeo, another ancient area of the city centre. Here you will see the wonderful Chiesa di San Bartolomeo and observe the caves of Chiafura, ancient dwellings carved into the rock where people lived until the ’60s of last century.
Our tip: if you want to vary your walking tour and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Scicli, go up the hill of San Matteo starting from via Duca d’Aosta and proceed in via Matrice. Your effort in climbing will be rewarded!



What to do in Scicli

Scicli boasts a long tradition of religious and folkoric festivals, which liven up the city in different periods of the year. The feast of “U Gioia” or “Uomu Vivu” on Easter Sunday and the feast of Madonna delle Milizie, usually celebrated the last Sunday of May, are only two of the folkloric traditions to live. The summer is also rich in festivals and concerts, such as the Taranta Sicily Fest, which take place both in the historic centre of Scicli and in its seaside hamlets.

Here is a list of interesting events:



Events and shows

In summer, in spring or in winter: come to Scicli whenever you want, because you will not get bored. There are always very interesting events and festivals in town.

Cavalcata di San Giuseppe
A very heartfelt event in Scicli is the Cavalcata di San Giuseppe. Even if it has become famous only from a few years, this feast has very ancient origins.
It usually takes plays on 19th March, on St Joseph’s day, or some days before. It is worth seeing it if you are in town in that period. It consists of a suggestive parade of horses that are completely dressed with harness showing sacred images and decorations realized with colourful wallflowers. Making this work requires time and many people. During the parade, the riders wear traditional peasant clothes and carry the so-called ciaccari, which are bundles once used as torches to light up the path. In different areas of the city centre, people celebrate in the streets having barbecues and drinking wine around the typical pagghiara, many big bonfires set up in the roads.
The atmosphere that you breath is really suggestive and makes this experience unique.



Baroque walks

In spring, in summer and during Christmas time, the local cultural associations organize guided and thematic walks to see the most important monuments of Scicli, but also in natural and unknown corners to discover. You can enjoy artworks, culture and precious treasures of this enchanting town. For more information visit I Love Scicli.



Festivals and concerts

The folkloric tradition of Scicli is rich in lively and picturesque religious feasts: here you can really breathe the essence of the Sicilian joy.



The feast of “U Gioia”

Easter Sunday is certainly the most waited feast by the inhabitants of Scicli.
Every year they celebrate a feast called “U Gioia” or “Uomu Vivu”, as the Risen Christ is called, which begins on Saturday evening and lasts until late Sunday night. The anxious wait for the midnight Mass, when the statue of the Christ is shown to the people as a representation of the Resurrection, is the beginning of this joyful celebration. Then, the statue is put on a basis with wooden beams to be carried on the shoulder the following morning.
On Sunday morning, a joyful crowd gathers in front of the Church of Santa Maria La Nova waiting for the statue to be carried out around 1:00 pm. Those carrying the Christ love to make people waiting, while going back and forth on the Church portal. When they decide to begin their “run” carrying the statue on their shoulders, the music band starts playing a vivacious march and the crowd explodes in yells of joy.


Scicli- - The Feast of 'U Gioia'
Scicli - The Feast of 'U Gioia'

After running round on the church parvis, the bearers go running down the road through the crowd, while the music band tries to follow them. The almost crazy and extravagant way of carrying the Risen Christ on the shoulder will make you realize how much local people share and love their tradition.
Take part in this picturesque Easter feast that has no equal in Sicily. The celebration lasts until 3:00 am of Monday morning when the bearers, exhausted by so many runs, decide finally to go back to the church.
On Easter Sunday the streets of the city centre are closed to traffic, so we recommend you to park in the parking areas in Contrada Zagarone (connected by a shuttle service to the city centre), in Corso Mazzini near the train station or in via Cristoforo Colombo.
Easter is also celebrated at the table with the typical cassate with ricotta and other traditional foods.



The feast of Madonna delle Milizie

This feast is a historical reenactment of a miraculous event happened in 1091. After the victory of Roger I of Sicily over the Saracens in 1061, the Catholic force began the reconquer of Sicily that led, in 1091, to the liberation of Scicli from the Arab domination. According to a legendary miracle, a Virgin riding a horse and carrying a sword, called “Madonna a Cavallo” or “Madonna delle Milizie”, helped the population to defeat the Saracens. In the same place where this battle should have happened, there is now a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin. The battle between Normans and Saracens is remembered every year with one of the most folkloristic events of Scicli. The feast usually takes place the last Saturday of May and is celebrated with a theatrical representation of the battle, with the final victory of the Christians thanks to the miraculous appearance of the Virgin. It is the only religious feast in the world having a fighting Virgin.



Taranta Sicily Fest

Do you want to dance to the rhythms of the South? Come to Scicli and take part to the Taranta Sicily Fest, a big concert with artists and dancers of taranta and pizzica coming from different regions of southern Italy. Enjoy the typical music of the South: the event takes place in August in the beautiful baroque city centre, an outdoor theatre among the hills surrounding Scicli. In the morning, before the concert, you can take taranta dance lessons in order to give your best and dance with Mediterranean passion.



Street markets and food festivals

In Scicli there are two street markets: the first one takes places on Tuesday morning in Contrada Zagarone and the second one is on Saturday morning in the city centre (Largo Gramsci). During the year, do not miss the several food festivals with typical products of the south east of Sicily. Are you greedy of cakes? Then we suggest the “Sagra della Testa di Turco”, a food festival taking place at the end of May together with the feast of “Madonna delle Milizie”. The testa di turco is a typical pastry with custard, chocolate or ricotta cream. The “Sagra della Seppia” is another food festival taking place between February and March in the nearby seaside hamlet of Donnalucata. This event is a very good opportunity to taste an excellent dish with cuttlefish, from a dish of pasta with sepia ink to the arancini with cuttlefish.



What to do in the evening

Scicli - By Night The heart of the nightlife in Scicli is via Francesco Mormino Penna, the main street of the historic centre. Here there are most of the pubs and restaurants. Especially on Friday and Saturday evening, this street is full of people of all ages attracted by the music and the possibility to drink something outdoor, surrounded by the baroque atmosphere of the palaces and the churches overlooking the road.
Both in summer and spring, the centre is always crowded and each pub offers outdoor music. Even at Christmas time, despite the cold, the town is always lively until late at night. In summer, you can go to the nearby seaside hamlet of Sampieri to have fun and dance on the beach. There are two beach clubs, “Pata Pata” and “Pappafico”, offering different genres of music and concerts.



Where to eat in Scicli

During your stay in Scicli, taste the typical dishes of the local tradition in the best restaurants in town. Here are our suggestions:



Restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias


  • Quore Matto: pizzeria and Mediterranean cuisine revisited with fantasy and elegance. Try the “Montalbano’s mousse”, one of the flagship desserts of this restaurant located in the historic centre.
    ▼ Via F.M. Penna n° 24, 97018 Scicli (RG)
    ☎ +39 0932 841044
    @ quorematto@hotmail.it
  • La Grotta: have a pizza or an elegant fish-based dish in this enchanting restaurant located inside a cave carved into the rock of a hill.
    ▼ Via Dolomiti n° 62, 97018 Scicli (RG)
    ☎ +39 0932 931363 / +39 338 6555152
    @ info@lagrottascicli.it
  • Osteria Tre Colli: sit at the table in the terrace and enjoy the view over Piazza Italia. Taste excellent dishes of the tradition of Scicli.
    ▼ Piazza Italia n° 14, 97018 Scicli (RG)
    ☎ +39 0932 931605
  • Scichili: a trip in the authentic flavours to eat with your hands. Here you will find fried specialties of fresh fish and excellent fish-based pizzas.
    ▼ Via San Filippo n° 20, 97018 (RG)
    ☎ +39 348 434 4151


Ice-cream parlours, cake shops


  • Busacca: a very good coffee bar where you can have breakfast or an excellent happy hour with a great variety of drinks and appetizers.
    ▼ Piazza Busacca n° 1, 97018 Scicli (RG)
    ☎ +39 0932 932150 / +39 0932 841637
    @ info@busaccascicli.it
  • Antico Caffè Gritti: come and have breakfast in this historic coffee bar, where you will taste a very good “brioche with granita”
    ▼ Via Nazionale n° 61, 97018 Scicli (RG)
    ☎ +39 339 5312148
  • Dolceria Modicana: this historic cake shop makes excellent pastries of the local tradition
    ▼ C.so Garibaldi n° 89, 97018 Scicli (RG)
    ☎ +39 0932 831632
    @ dolceriamodicana@alice.it


Beaches of Scicli

The coast of Scicli extends for more than 15 km from Playa Grande, bordering with Marina di Ragusa, to Sampieri, enjoying a coastline that offers a great variety of sandy beaches and rocky coasts.
Dive into a limpid sea with thousands of blue shades and relax in wide sandy beaches that are still pristine and uncontaminated. The beaches of Scicli are suitable for everybody and offer a great variety of choice. If you like to chill out on a quiet beach offering services, we suggest the golden sandy beaches of Donnalucata. Otherwise, for those who love to swim in waters surrounded only by nature, we recommend you the beach of Costa di Carro and Playa Grande. In these areas, you will also find wonderful cliffs ideal for snorkeling and diving.
Cava d’Aliga and Sampieri are the most popular beaches among young people and those looking for services, boat rentals and beach sports. All the beaches of Scicli have shallow waters gently sloping towards the open sea and are suitable for families with children.
Cava d’Aliga is certainly the most lively beach: test yourself with beach volley, beach soccer, tamburello and bocce tournaments or have a bath to the rhythm of music. You will not get bored!
The beach of Sampieri is also very lively. Especially in July and August, this beach is crowded all day, even in the evening, thanks to its beach clubs where you can eat a pizza, have a drink and dance until late at night.



Where it is and how to get to Scicli

Scicli is located among three valleys, called cave (Modica, Santa Maria La Nova and San Bartolomeo), and rises in the south east of Sicily in the province of Ragusa. It is only 9 km from the sea. Here you have some suggestions and advises on how to get to Scicli with different means of transport.



By car

Scicli is about 128 km from Catania, the main city of eastern Sicily. To reach Scicli from Catania take the state road Catania-Ragusa (SS 194), go on until Modica and then follow the direction to Scicli. Otherwise, take the highway E 45 (Catania-Syracuse), proceed towards Noto and take the exit to Rosolini. From here, proceed along the coastal road
Pozzallo-Marina di Modica-Sampieri and go to Scicli along the SP 40.
From Syracuse you have to take the highway E 45 to Rosolini, then proceed to Pozzallo, Marina di Modica, Sampieri and, from here, take the direction to Scicli.
From Ragusa take the SS 115 to Modica and turn right into the SP 40 to Scicli.



Limited traffic zones (ZTL)

To make easier your access by car to the historic centre we want to report some limited traffic zones:

  • 24h pedestrian area in via Francesco Mormino Penna
  • Limited traffic zone in via Nazionale each Saturday from 18:00 to 24:00. On Sundays and holidays the ban is valid all day.


Parking areas

Here are some free and paying parking areas nearby or in the historic centre::

  • Free and paying (blue lines) parking spaces in via Santa Maria La Nova and via Dolomiti
  • Free and paying (blue lines) parking spaces in via San Bartolomeo and via Ispica
  • Paying parking spaces (blue lines) in via Tagliamento
  • Free underground parking area in via Tagliamento
  • Paying parking spaces (blue lines) in Piazza Italia


By bus

It is possible to reach Scicli by bus from Catania, taking the AST line from the bus stop of the train station or from the Arrivals Terminal at the airport. Tickets can be purchased at the train station or at the terminal of the airport.
To get here by bus from Modica check out the AST website for all information regarding timetables and routes.
From Ragusa, take the AST bus from Ragusa to Modica and then take the connection to Scicli.
If you arrive from Palermo, you have to take the AST bus to Modica and then take the connection to Scicli.
Tickets can be purchased directly on the bus or at any ticket office, stationery or authorized dealer.



By train

The train station is between Corso Mazzini and via Pola. You can buy tickets and check out timetables and routes on Trenitalia.



Airport

Daily flights connect Catania Airport to different Italian and European cities. It is about 128 km from Scicli and well connected by the AST line. The bus ticket can be purchased at the Arrivals Terminal.

Comiso Airport is about 50 km from Scicli and is the nearest one. To get here from this airport, you just need to book the Comiso Airport Shuttle, stopping also in Donnalucata.



Weather today and tomorrow in Scicli

Scicli is about 100 m on the sea level, from which is just 9 km away. For this reason, the climate is mainly mild during all the year, with medium temperatures of 11°C in winter and 24°C in summer. In high winter, the lowest temperature rarely goes down 5°C, while in summer the highest is between 35°C and 40°C, especially in the hottest months of July and August. The mild climate of this area is perfect to enjoy the beautiful beaches even in spring.
Find out today and tomorrow’s weather forecast in Scicli to better plan your stay.





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