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Scicli

Discover some of the most beautiful monuments of the Baroque Sicily. Live local celebrations of the Patroni (Saints of the town), or attend local & international art festivals.

SCICLI

Scicli sits in a gorge just a few miles from the long sandy beaches of Sampieri and Donnalucata and is overlooked by the towering rocky mass of the Church of San Matteo.

Conquered by the Arabs in 864, it became a royal city under the Normans. Totally rebuilt in pure Sicilian Baroque style after the 1693 earthquake, it presents today an impressive quantity of 17th century palaces that have made Scicli a masterpiece of the human creative genius of the late baroque period. Since 2002, the city is on the list of the Unesco World Heritage Sites.

The city is also notable for its religious parades that include “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, with a long religious procession through the city.

A decorated horse parade takes place in March, from Scicli to the neighbouring town of Donnalucata: la Cavalcata of San Giuseppe.

And the most spectacular religious festival, the La Madonna dei Milici occurs in May, commemorating the appearance of the Madonna on a white horse holding aloft a sword as she fights the saracens, two of which are under the horse hooves, She is described as “probably… the only armed Holy Virgin in the world.”

Scicli, in case you were wondering, is pronounced shi-kli!

Some Highlights

  • Antica Farmacia Cartia
  • Church of Santa Maria della Croce and San Matteo
  • Back to the past: « A rutta ri Ron Carmulu »
  • Palazzo Spadaro
  • The Office of Commisario Montalbano
  • Pastry shop Basile
  • The Taranta Sicily Fest end of August
Palazzo Beneventano

Antony Blunt, British art historian…and spy, defines it as the most beautiful baroque palace of Sicily « of a pale yellow gold colour which in the sunlight gives it an indescribable opulence ». The enchanting Palazzo Beneventano is one of the Baroque monuments of the 17th century most original and more representative of the province. The canted facades of the building are exactly symmetrical, and at the intersection of the ledge running along the roof are two Moorish heads topped by the crest of the Beneventano family.

Il Gioia

Celebration of Easter, or “Uomu Vivu”. It’s so difficult to describe it to someone who never saw the jubilation of the crowd, chanting “Evviva” and “Gio-gio-gio-gioooia!”, under petals of flowers raining from the balconies when the statue passes along. Beyond the religious content of the celebration there is also the strong historical and folk tradition that brings together so many Sicilians.

La cavalcata di San Giuseppe

It started during Middle Age, as a drama to call for good harvests. It gradually got assimilated with Christianity to become a religious celebration in the honour of the Saint Patron of the town. The riders wear trousers and waistcoats of black velvet, white embroidered shirts, multicolour belts, red scarves, boots and pipes made of cane.

The choice of visits will depend on the season and the events taking place in Scicli.

8 stunning days to discover the real Sicilian culture!

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