As soon as you arrive in Scicli, you feel like you are going back in time a bit. A very small and quaint village, a real concentration of beauty. Even Scicli, like other Sicilian Baroque cities, is not located at sea level. In fact, the aristocracy of the time preferred to stay in the hills, enjoy the landscape and find some refreshment from the torrid Sicilian summers.
As in the case of Modica and Ragusa Ibla, already on the way there (Starting from the south), you will be struck by the beauty of the landscape. Olive trees, carob trees, old white stone walls from the 1500s to mark out the fields, old farms, hay balls..The beauty in fact of this area of Sicily, that is, the southern part, is the very nature itself, which here has been much less affected by man.
Tip from Topsecretsicily: If you wish, you can book a convenient guided tour that includes visits to Ragusa Ibla, Modica and Scicli, the 3 pearls of Sicilian Baroque, or a tour of Commissario Montalbano. You will be picked up directly from your vacation home or hotel if you are in the Catania, Syracuse or Taormina areas.
1. Historic center
Begin your journey by exploring the Baroque heart of Scicli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is famous for its well-preserved Baroque churches and buildings, including the Church of St. Matthew and the Church of St. Bartholomew. Walking the cobblestone streets of Scicli will simply do your soul good.
1.1 Beneventano Palace
It is one of the most beautiful Baroque palaces on the island, and what is particularly striking is the flamboyance of the balconies. The latter are in fact supported by very expressive animals and anthropomorphic figures, who seem to want to tell something. Probably you want to postpone the raids of the Saracens and pirates of the Mediterranean and the fear of those moments.
1.2 Spadaro Palace
The palace belonged to the Spadaro family of Modican origin who moved to Scicli in the 17th century. The rooms that can be visited are not many, but still fascinating, especially the one with the floor still decorated with majolica.
1.3 Palazzo Bonelli – Patanè
It is probably the most beautiful palace in Scicli, built in the late 19th century at the behest of Ignazio Bonelli. In 2013 it was bought by the entrepreneur Patanè who restored it and opened it to the public.
1.4 Mother Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola
1.5. Town Hall of Scicli – In the footsteps of Inspector Montalbano
The town hall was made famous by the TV series “Il Commissario Montalbano.” It was in fact used as the headquarters of the Vigata police station. For a few Euros you can buy the ticket and visit both the Palace and the premises where the TV series was filmed.
1.6 Church of Santa Teresa
Also in the area, you will also find the Church of Santa Teresa and here too you pay a ticket. The church is small but very special, once you enter you have a feeling of purity. In fact, the predominant color is white, interrupted here and there by the intense yellow of gold. The church is no longer in operation and has been used as an exhibition hall.
1.7 Church of San Michele
The church is very beautiful both inside and out and is very rich in decorations. It is one of the oldest churches in Scicli and was one of the few buildings that survived the earthquake of 1693, although it was still entirely rebuilt. Admission is free.
2. Along the Spanish canal and the convent
The canal is located in via Aleardi not far from the street where the Town Hall overlooks. This work was built by the Spanish so as to channel rainwater. Just think that it was done so well that it still works today after so many centuries. Walking along this street you can admire some beautiful views of Scicli, until you reach the beautiful church and convent of the Carmine.
3. Panoramic church of Santa Maria della Croce
The Church of St. Mary of the Cross and the adjacent convent (Built around the 16th century) are located on St. Matthew’s Hill and can be reached on foot in about 20 minutes from the historic center. The Convent is charming and has been restored in the past, the church is small but very nice and is no longer used as a place of worship. Surely what makes this place special is the spectacular view of Scicli from above, especially at sunset. Admission is subject to a fee, around 2 Euros per person.
4. Church of San Matteo
The Church of St. Matthew, like that of St. Mary of the Cross, is located on the hill. The climb is a bit challenging and tiring, so if you are not very fit, better leave it alone. The stone path is still very nice, even if a little abandoned. Also abandoned is the church, which has structural problems and is therefore closed to the public. In fact, in the 90s, during the restorations, a reinforced concrete roof was built which compromised its stability.
Although not open to visitors, the church is very fascinating from the outside and the view of Scicli and the sea is incomparable.
5. Church of San Bartolomeo and the caves
The Church of San Bartolomeo is set in a beautiful context, made of rocks, caves and houses, with their typical color, a soft white-yellow-gold. The church dates back to the 15th century and despite having withstood the earthquake of 1693 it was modified over the following years. Inside the church you will also find an 18th century nativity scene, a sort of photograph of the daily life of the time.
6. Chiafura – The houses in the rock
Just near the Church of St. Bartholomew, among the rocks of St. Matthew’s Hill, is a very special place, Chiafura (Name probably coming from fura=outside, indicating that it was outside the city). The site is unfortunately currently closed to the public, but restoration work is expected to begin.
From the fifth century AD this place was used for a long time as a necropolis, or cemetery. Around the 8th century, however, a real urban district began to emerge.. This phenomenon was fueled by the fear of repeated coastal attacks of the period, people preferred to take refuge and live inland.
This place continued to be inhabited over the centuries, even up to the second half of the 20th century. However in the eighteenth with the expansion of the urban center of Scicli, this place was gradually abandoned.
7. A rut r Ron Carmelo
Ron Carmelo’s cave is an ancient house carved out of the cave like those not far away in Chiafura, which, however, unlike this one, are not accessible. It has been inhabited over the centuries and the last owners were the grandparents of Signor Carmelo. He will be the one to tell you in a very nice way the story of the cave and his family. Everything has been recreated to perfection, and you will also have a chance to try out old-fashioned games and tools.
Typical products of Scicli
Scicli’s original typical products are cuccidatu and Turkish head.
The first is a donut of about 250 grams prepared with lard, flour, pepper and sausage (There is also the variant filled with ricotta). You can find it in the rotisseries of Scicli.
The Turk’s head is instead a dessert. Its history is very fascinating and also nice. It is a large puff filled with cream or ricotta, which celebrates the defeat of the Turks by the Normans in the battle of 1091. The shape of the cake in fact recalls the turban of the Turks! You can find it in the pastry shops of Scicli.
Where to eat in Scicli
After seeing what to see in Scicli, let’s now think about good food. In this regard the restaurant is recommended My name is Tanino . The restaurant itself is small but very nice, you find seating both inside and outside. The tables outside are located next to a beautiful stone channel for rainwater, still fully functional, built by the Spaniards during their domination. What to try? The vastiduzza! A sort of Sicilian tapas, based on flour and different ingredients and toppings
Another very particular and original restaurant is the La Grotta restaurant . It is entirely excavated in the cave and the food is very good, as the reviews on Google testify.
Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general
Interactive map of Scicli – Points of interest in purple?
Find out what to see in Scicli To locate yourself once in the area, click on the enlarge symbol at the top right of the map.
What to see around Scicli
Here find a list of all the places to see in the Ragusa area, of which Scicli is part.