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Scicli

Scicli
Comune
Comune di Scicli
The church of St. Bartholomew.
The church of St. Bartholomew.
Coat of arms of Scicli
Coat of arms
Scicli is located in Italy
Scicli
Location of Scicli in Italy
Coordinates:
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province Ragusa (RG)
Frazioni Donnalucata, Sampieri, Cava d'Aliga and Playa Grande
Government
 • Mayor Franco Susino
Area
 • Total 137.57 km2 (53.12 sq mi)
Elevation 108 m (354 ft)
Population (31 January 2009[1])
 • Total 26,215
 • Density 190/km2 (490/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Sciclitani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 97018
Dialing code 0932
Saint day Last Saturday of May
Website Official website

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

Contents

  • History 1
  • Main sights 2
  • Culture 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

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.[2] 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."[3]

In 1091, it was conquered from the Arabs by the Normans, under Roger I of Hauteville, after a fierce battle.[4] 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

  • Church of San Matteo, which 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.[5]
  • 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.
  • The Mother Church of St. Ignatz, housing the highly venerated image of Madonna dei Milìci (see Culture section).
  • The scenographic St. Bartholomew, in Baroque style.
  • 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.

Culture

The city is also frequently used as a film set, most recently for Marco Bellocchio's Il regista dei matrimoni and is popular in Italy as the home of Il Commissario Montalbano, the popular television series broadcast by RAI.

The city 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 city 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."[6] 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.[7]

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

The city plays host to an annual road running race, Memorial Peppe Greco, which traces its route through the city centre.

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv, v
Reference 398
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2002 (20th Session)

References

  1. ^ Data from ISTAT
  2. ^  
  3. ^ 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.  
  4. ^ Authentic Sicily (illustrated ed.). Touring Editore. 2005. p. 73.  
  5. ^ Peter Amann (1 Jan 2001). Sicily (illustrated ed.). Hunter Publishing, Inc. p. 42.  
  6. ^ Marcella Croce (20 Oct 2014). The Chivalric Folk Tradition in Sicily: A History of Storytelling, Puppetry, Painted Carts and Other Arts. McFarland. p. 48.  
  7. ^ 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.  

External links

  • (English) Scili Information
  • Cartoon map of Scicli
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