Sciacca: the sea and a lot of works of art. Let’s try to describe it

On the eastern side there is “Monte Kronio”, a big mountain with the cave-chapel where the hermit Saint Calogero lived and, next to it,  the natural steam caves. Moving to the city centre, you can meet the “Castello Incantato”, the Enchanted Castle of Filippo Bentivegna

castello incantato - ph. Giovanni Carollo

enchanted garden – ph. Giovanni Carollo

When you get into this huge farm with almond trees and Saracen olive trees, you are immediately attracted by  its “Heads” carved in stones and trees. Some of them are red painted and roughly moulded.

sciacca-7-ph-giovanni-carollo

Street of Sciacca – Ph. Giovanni Carollo

Some are happy, some are sad, but all of them have a real facial expression. Some of Filippo Bentivegna’s heads are now on display  at the “ Musée de l’Art Brut”  in Losanna.

Over the houses roofs you can see the walls of Lunas Castle. Going along via Agatocle, you find the old monastery of San Francesco D’Assisi which was founded in 1224, nowadays a cultural centre. Then the thermal spa with a park, a thermal swimming pool and a beautiful view.

After that you reach the Square Saverio Friscia, also known as “Potta vagnu” or “Porta Bagni”, after an old gate so named  which was there until XIX century; from there you can see the ancient Palazzo San Giacomo.

il mare the sea sciacca sicily

Sciacca, the sea – Ph. Ignazio Mannarano

Walking along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, enjoying  the beautiful view of the sea, you can see the Norman apses of the Basilica Maria SS. del Soccorso and Palazzo Arone Valentino.

In Piazza Duomo you can admire the Chiesa Madre, with a lot of artworks, in particular the simulacrum of Madonna del Soccorso,  and the house- museum Scaglione with its art collections.

Sciacca Church Cathedral

Cathedral – Ph. Guido Sorano

Going on, you’ll meet one of the most ancient churches in Sciacca, Chiesa di Sant’Antonio, where once rose the arches of Porta di Mare (another gate of the town), then the strongly fortified, ancient city walls with their bastion.

Further on, you can see the “Ex collegio dei Gesuiti”, built in 1613, today the Town Hall (Palazzo Comunale), and San Domenico church.

Walking through Via Incisa you can see the bizarre House/Tower of Pardo, with a Renaissance well in the courtyard, and Palazzo Perollo, the house of one the families involved in the bloody case of Sciacca (Caso di Sciacca) .

Sciacca - Ph. I. Mannarano

Sciacca – Ph. I. Mannarano

On the other side of the street, you can see the eighteenth-century gate of an old historic hospital, the façade of the church of San Gerlando, the deconsecrated church of Santa Margherita, founded by Eleonora d’Aragona in 1342: inside you can admire marvelous stuccos and frescoes, a coffered ceiling and an extraordinary eighteenth-century organ.

Sciacca chiesa s margherita exploringsiciliy.com

Chiesa di S. Margherita by exploringsicily.com

In the square there is Chiesa del Carmine, a church with a medieval rose window and a colourful dome, and the sixteenth-century San Salvatore gate. Going up through Via Pietro Gerardi you can find one of the most famous palaces in Sciacca, Palazzo Steripinto, whose façade has diamond pointed ashlars. Built in 1501, it is an important example of plateresque art in Sicily of the late Gothic-Reinassance period.

On the same street, you can see the eighteenth-century Palazzo Tagliavia.

On the other side of the city there is the fourth gate of Sciacca: Porta Palermo. Walking through Via Giuseppe Licata you meet several churches: Chiesa di San Giuseppe, Santa Maria dello Spasimo and Chiesa San Francesco di Paola; finally the eighteenth-century  noble Palazzo Ragusa.

sciacca-12-ph-giovanni-carollo

Street of Sciacca – Ph. Giovanni Carollo

In the upper part of the city, there is another gate: Porta San Calogero. In Piazza Noceto you can see the last churches: Santa Maria dell’Itria, Badia Grande, Chiesa del Giglio, Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo.

sciacca-13-ph-i-mannarano

V. Licata, poet of the sea – Ph Mannarano

Sciacca is famous for its coral which is unique in the world for its shades of colour and characteristics. The volcanic phenomena in 1831 (Isola Ferdinandea) created an extraordinary microclimate which gave birth to a huge coral reef. Due to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, coral was detached from the rock and was deposited on the seabed, creating three coral deposits. Thanks to volcanic muds and gas, the structure of the coral changed, so the “rubrum coral” (Red Coral of the Mediterranean Sea) started to grow profusely.

  • oro di sciacca corallo
  • Corallo di sciacca
Website: The Sciacca Coral Consortium  – Facebook: Coral Consortium

Sciacca coral

Sciacca coral

It is characterised by a unique colour tone (from intense orange to pale salmon-pink with black stains because of its volcanic origin).

Soap’s Museum

The curiosity of a chemist it’s transformed into a passion for the history of soap, this history dates back already from 2800 a.c. The House Museum is situated in an old farmhouse in the early nineteenth century.
The idea to create this museum space is born from the desire of Alexander to pass down historical information and scientific techniques to all enthusiasts of the wonderful world of soaps.

Soap’s Museum on TripAdivsor 

Museo del sapone, Sciacca - ph A. Mazzotta

Soap’s Museum Sciacca – ph A. Mazzotta

 

The Toy Museum in Sciacca makes us travel through time. It is a real cultural trip down memory lane. The collection is organised  according to the different historical periods,  in a succession of rooms and suggestions.  Accompanied by an experienced guide,  in every room we discover the changes of eras through the different locations and lifestyle.
Each toy tells a story full of anecdotes and memories.

Museo del giocattolo, Sciacca

Toy Museum Sciacca

Sciacca Toy Museum on TripAdvisor

Scala a Sciacca

view of Sciacca – Ph Giovanni Carollo

Something to eat:

“Tabisca Saccense”, a kind of rustic pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven, it has a particular elongated shape, with tomato sauce, pecorino cheese, oregano, onions and anchovies  – “Sardine soup”: sardines, potatoes, fennel and green peas –  “Ova Murina”: crêpes (almonds, cinnamon, cocoa, eggs and Marsala) and milk cream; in the past only  noble people of the city used to eat them.

sciacca-dolci-2-ph-i-mannarano

Bakery – Ph. Mannarano

“Cucchiteddi” made of almond paste, pumpkin jam (zuccata);  in the past working class people of the city used to eat them.

Dolci Cucchitelle

Cucchitelle – Ph. I. Mannarano

The Carnival of Sciacca is an amazing experience; it has ancient origins and it is very probably linked to the ancient, Roman Saturnalia. It has always been a party among the people during which all excess was allowed: eating and drinking binges (sausages, cannoli and wine) ruled the roost together with the popular masks. All the people, by order of the viceroy, were even forced to dress up: some groups recited dialect poems on large stages dragged by oxen or horses.

Carnevale Sciacca Sicily  ph Pen Hon/Pin

Carneval of Sciacca  – ph Pen Hon/Pin

Nowadays the masked groups are very refined. Artisans of papier-mache, architects, illustrators, blacksmiths, choreographers and dancers work for months and months with great alacrity and mastery.
Saccensi and “sciacchitani popolo scialusu” (the people of Sciacca, that like to have fun) work hard for the success of the famous “Carnival of Sciacca”. The actors act unpublished, dialect poems and scripts whose satire is inspired by the local and national political personalities. People dance in the streets, with joyful, “crazy” movements. The Grotesque floats and masked groups parade along the streets of the historical center starting from fat Thursday, when the key of the city is symbolically given to the king of Carnival, Peppi ‘Nappa, untill fat Tuesday, when the King’s Float is burnt at the stake in Angelo Scandaliato square.

Discover here the Carnivals of Sicily