Comune di Scicli

Coat of arms

Scicli within the Province of Ragusa
Location of Scicli in Italy
Coordinates: 36°47′17″N 14°41′52″E / 36.78806°N 14.69778°E / 36.78806; 14.69778Coordinates: 36°47′17″N 14°41′52″E / 36.78806°N 14.69778°E / 36.78806; 14.69778
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province Ragusa (RG)
Frazioni Arizza, Bruca, Cava d'Aliga, Donnalucata, Playa Grande, Sampieri
  Mayor Vincenzo Giannone
  Total 138.72 km2 (53.56 sq mi)
Elevation 108 m (354 ft)
Population (31 December 2017)[1]
  Total 27,051
  Density 200/km2 (510/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Sciclitani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 97018
Dialing code 0932
Patron saint Madonna of the Milices
Saint day Last Saturday of May
Website Official website
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Part of Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
Criteria Cultural: (i)(ii)(iv)(v)
Reference 1024rev-008
Inscription 2002 (26th Session)
Area 0.82 ha (88,000 sq ft)
Buffer zone 5.18 ha (558,000 sq ft)

Scicli is a town and municipality in the Province of Ragusa in the south east of Sicily, southern Italy. It is 25 kilometres (16 mi) from Ragusa, and 308 kilometres (191 mi) from Palermo, and has a population (2017) of 27,051.[1] Alongside seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it has been listed as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

The municipality borders with Modica and Ragusa.[2]


Settlements of the area of Scicli dates back to the Copper and Early Bronze Ages (3rd millennium BCE to the 15th century BCE).

Scicli was founded by the Sicels (whence probably the name) around 300 BCE.

In 864 CE, Scicli was conquered by the Arabs, as part of the Muslim conquest of Sicily.[3] Under their rule it flourished as an agricultural and trade center. According to geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, "shipping reached Scicli in Sicily from Calabria, Africa, Malta and many other places."[4]

In 1091, it was conquered from the Arabs by the Normans, under Roger I of Hauteville, after a fierce battle.[5] Scicli was one of the garrison which rebelled against the Angevine domination in the Sicilian Vespers (April 5, 1282). Following the various dynasties ruling the Kingdom of Sicily, it was an Aragonese-Spanish possession before being united in the Kingdom of Italy in the mid 19th century.

Following a catastrophic earthquake in 1693, much of the town was rebuilt in the Sicilian baroque style, which today gives the town the elegant appearance which draws many tourists to visit it.

Main sights

  • San Matteo: this church was the local Mother Church until 1874. It is located on the eponymous hill in the Old City, where there is also the ruin of an Arab/Norman castle.[6]
  • The church of Santa Marìa la Nova, with a huge Neoclassicist façade. The interior houses a cypresse-wood statue of Madonna della Pietà, probably of Byzantine origin.
  • San Bartolomeo baroque church
  • Sant'Ignazio (Mother Church of St. Ignatz), housing the highly venerated image of Madonna dei Milìci (see Culture section).
  • San Michele Arcangelo
  • Santa Maria la Nova
  • Palazzo Fava, one of the first and largest Baroque palaces in the town. Notable are the late-Baroque decorations of the portal and the balconies, especially the one on the Via San Bartolomeo.
  • The Town Hall, the Palazzo Spadaro and the Palazzo Beneventano, all boasting Baroque decorations.


Scicli is frequently used as a film set, most recently for Marco Bellocchio's Il regista dei matrimoni and is popular in Italy as the location of the police station (Commissariato) of Il Commissario Montalbano, the popular television series broadcast by RAI.

The town is also notable for its religious processions which includes "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 town celebrates with the "Uomo Vivo" parade which involves a long religious procession through the city. A decorated horse parade takes place in March, from Scicli to the neighbouring town of Donnalucata. The most spectacular religious festival, the A Maronna i Milici occurs in May, commemorating the appearance of the Madonna on a white horse holding aloft a sword, described as "probably...the only armed Holy Virgin in the world."[7] This encouraged the Christian Normans to defeat the Saracens in 1091. However, the story itself is believed to have been first promoted no earlier than the 15th century.[8]


The economy of Scicli is mostly agricultural, and the area is renowned for its many greenhouses producing the primizie ("early fruits") that are exported all over Italy.


The local association football club is the U.P.D. Scicli; and the futsal club is the Pro Scicli, that also played in Serie A. The town plays host to an annual road running race, Memorial Peppe Greco, which traces its route through the city centre.


Scicli has a railway station on the Canicattì-Gela-Ragusa-Syracuse line. Another station serves the frazione of Sampieri.

The town will be served by the planned extension, to Ragusa and Gela, of the A18 motorway.



  1. 1 2 (in Italian) Source: Istat 2011
  2. 39161 Scicli on OpenStreetMap
  3. Alexander Mikaberidze (22 Jul 2011). Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 831. ISBN 9781598843378.
  4. Lorenza De Maria; Rita Turchetti (2004). Rotte e porti del Mediterraneo dopo la caduta dell'Impero romano d'Occidente: continuità e innovazioni tecnologiche e funzionali : IV seminario : Genova, 18-19 giugno 2004. Rubbettino Editore. p. 125. ISBN 9788849811179.
  5. Authentic Sicily (illustrated ed.). Touring Editore. 2005. p. 73. ISBN 9788836534036.
  6. Peter Amann (1 Jan 2001). Sicily (illustrated ed.). Hunter Publishing, Inc. p. 42. ISBN 9781856911580.
  7. Marcella Croce (20 Oct 2014). The Chivalric Folk Tradition in Sicily: A History of Storytelling, Puppetry, Painted Carts and Other Arts. McFarland. p. 48. ISBN 9780786494156.
  8. Amy G. Remensnyder (2014). La Conquistadora: The Virgin Mary at War and Peace in the Old and New Worlds (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 395. ISBN 9780199893003.
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