Among the many beautiful baroque towns, Scicli seems to get lost… For a long time it also remained hidden from tourists, until it appeared as the main decor for the popular series “Inspector Montalbano”. Dramatic landscapes and exquisite palaces begin to attract interest and the city receives the attention it deserves…
Where is located and how to get there
Scicli is located in a valley between several higher ridges, which contributes to its interesting appearance. Ragusa is 26 km, Noto 43 km, and in the immediate vicinity is Modica (10 km). We traveled to it from there, with two options – SP54 and SP42. The first route is a little faster, but we chose the second one so that we could descend the turns above the town and enjoy a wonderful panoramic view to the Scicli houses, lit up by the February sun She is right HERE.
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We arrived in the morning and managed to park in the square next to via Nicolò Tommaseo (HERE). There is an improvised free parking lot. The spacious via Cristoforo Colombo is another place where you may not pay for parking.
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First impression – via F. Mormina Penna
You can’t get a better first impression of Scicli than the main street via F. Mormina Penna! It’s one of the most beautiful baroque streets in Sicily, where residential buildings, palaces and churches harmoniously mix. The balconies of the exquisite Palazzo Spadaro, which is owned by the municipality and is open to visitors, definitely dominate everything else. The Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo is nestled on the opposite corner, and some of the cafes were already starting to open their doors…
Like a movie decor – Piazza Municipio
The street ends at Piazza Municipio, the square better known as the main setting of the Inspector Montalbano series. The Town Hall (Comune di Scicli) is the most recognizable building from the series, where it actually plays the role of the police station. Attached to the Evangelical Church Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista, the seat of the municipality was built at the beginning of the 20th century on the ruined Benedictine monastery.
More about Scicli
The first reports of life on the territory of Scicli date back to the copper and early bronze ages… Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and of course Sicels lived here. It was they who gave him the name Siclis.
Initially, the settlement was built on the hills, as evidenced by the ruins of the ancient castle and some rock neighborhoods. In the 14th century, a slight transformation and a search for new spaces began, which led to the move of Scicli to the plain. This change was greatly accelerated by the great earthquake of 1693, and the rock-dwellings on the hills were finally abandoned. The whole of today’s city on the plain is the result of intensive reconstruction in the 18th and 19th centuries after the earthquake, which placed it on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. But the uniqueness of Scicli is that it manages to keep the connection with the popular ancient neighborhoods on the cliffs…
On the hunt for palaces – Palazzo Beneventano and Palazzo Flava
The creative genius of architects during the late Baroque era created some magnificent palaces that still adorn the streets of Scicli today… The most beautiful palace in Sicily… That’s how is known Palazzo Beneventano, sculpted in a pale golden-yellow color. The coat of arms of the Beneventano family, decorated with two Moorish heads, is placed centrally in the corner of the building, and strange and even a little scary creatures guard its balconies.
Another important palace is the Palazzo Flava, located only 100 meters away. It’s among the first reconstructed buildings in Scicli, with detailed baroque elements around the gate and on the remarkable terraces…
The main square – Piazza Italia
The biggest square in the city – Piazza Italia! The elongated space is surrounded by beautiful buildings, most dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, and provides stunning views of the opposite hill… We briefly enjoyed the Sicilian timelessness, sitting under the palm trees, then we felt like drinking a cappuccino with a delicious dessert…
The main church of Scicli- Chiesa Madre di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola
The Mother Church (Chiesa Madre di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola) is the most important building in the square. Its construction began before the earthquake and was completed in the middle of the 18th century. Today it is the main church of the city, with the interior having a basilica plan and divided into three naves.
To Chiesa di San Bartolomeo
A short walk along via S. Bartolomeo brings us to the 15th century church Chiesa di San Bartolomeo. She withstood the earthquake, but suffered significant damage… The impressive facade features elements from different eras, with Doric columns on the first level, late Baroque prints and various statues attracting the eye.
Let’s climb to the Chiesa di San Matteo
It remained for us to sneak into the narrow streets leading to the hill with the abandoned church (Chiesa di San Matteo). We returned almost to the Palazzo Beneventano to turn onto the via San Matteo leading to the top… The road gave us a wonderful view of the neighboring hill and another of the main churches of the city, which we never went to – Chiesa di Santa Maria La Nova. The orange trees were the perfect addition to the landscape…
After about 10 minutes we were upstairs where we found a dilapidated temple full of waste and an unpleasant smell. And it was once the main church of Scicli… There were also a few questionable faces, which put me off photographing it… Still, we got another perspective into the heart of the new city…
For a final
We spent about two hours in Scicli so that we could walk around its main part. It’s definitely a small town, with an interesting town center… Very Sicilian! Although we saw almost no tourists, Scicli can offer visitors interesting sights and a pleasant experience…