Scicli in Sicily
“Seen therefore, from far away, and from so high, Scicli was what is said La Sicilia”.
It was one of the most famous Italian intellectuals of the last century, the writer and director Pier Paolo Pasolini, to make such an important statement, at the end of 1950′s.
Scicli is situated in the south eastern part of Sicily, in Province of Ragusa, close to the Mediterranean sea. It’s 28 km far from the principal town of Sicily and about 5 km far from the shoreline. Its geographic coordinates are: 36º 44′ N and 14º 42′ E. The altitude is 105 meters on sea level and the surface is 137.54 squarekm. Scicli borders Ragusa and Modica and spreads for approximately 20 km on the coast, from the mouth of the Irminio river until the district of Pisciotto.
Its territory consists of Donnalucata (with Playa Grande), Cava d’Aliga (with Bruca and Arizza) and Sampieri (with Pisciotto), all on the shoreline, in front of the island of Malta. Its inhabitants (sciclitani) are approximately 26,000.
The origin of the city of Scicli can be traced back to the III Siculo period (from 1500 b.C. to 800 b.C.). The ancient city, in fact arose on the hill of Saint Matteo where there are still coves and sepulchres, near the district called Chiafura and the ruins of the “Castello dei Tre Cantoni”. The economy of Scicli is based on the growing of vegetables and fruits in greenhouse (one of the most famous tomatoes is called “ciliegino”, known also as “pachino”).
With the inclusion of Scicli in the UNESCO patrimony of World Heritage List, the local government started an important tourist policy, that is founded on the presence of one of the most important baroque testimonies of the “Val di Noto” and on the existence of twenty kilometres of uncontaminated coasts. In summer time the presence of chalets, nocturnal sites and discotheques makes the coast of Scicli one of the most attractive place for young people and teenagers.
TRADITION AND FESTIVITIES…
The city is famous for a lot of festivities and traditional tales. One of this is based upon the presence of the statue of the “Madonna delle Milizie”, the only fighter Madonna of the Christianity. The statue is situated inside the church Matrice. According to the tradition, she came down from the sky over a white horse in order to save the Christians from the incursions of the “Saracens”.
On the last Sunday of May a theatre play remembers the battle between Normans and Arabs. Around the middle of March the “Cavalcata di San Giuseppe” takes place. It is a procession of horses covered with flowers that evokes the escape of Jesus, Giuseppe and Maria in Egypt.
Easter Sunday is famous for the celebration of “Cristo Risorto” (the “Gioia”): the statue of Christ is carried by many people on their shoulders across the main streets of the town.
Besides, Scicli hosts an unique painting in the world-wide catholic iconography: the “Cristo in gonnella”. Inside the church of the Carmine, the painting represents Jesus in cross wearing a long and white sacerdotal skirt, from the flanks down. A similar painting only exists in Burgos, in Spain.
It is worth to remind that Scicli, in the last few years, has become famous to be the location of various cinematographic sets. Giuseppe Tornatore (already Oscar prize with “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”) for the film “L’uomo delle stelle”, and location of the town Vigata for “Il commissario Montalbano“, a fiction inspired to the stories of Andrea Camilleri, now exported all over the world from the Italian Television.
About Scicli, the writer Elio Vittorini wrote: “It is perhaps the most beautiful city of the world”.