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Scicli on Sicily

…once upon a time there was a little, picturesque town in the South of Sicily…
Embedded in a breathtaking Canyon-landscape, the foothills of the Iblei Mountain. Scicli is a neat place where Sicilians play cards on the Piazza on Sunday and where you get the impression that the clocks are ticking slower here than anywhere else.

The caves in the rock faces are witnesses of a former Sicel settlement. Impressive are the baroque churches, which imposingly strive against the azure sky. If you listen closely, you hear the monastery walls whispering stories of the destiny of aristocratic daughters. Scicli was completely destroyed at the enormous earthquake in the year 1693 and reconstructed again. The place knew many governances, from the Greeks and Romans over the Byzantines to the Aragons. Today, Scicli belongs to the cultural world heritage and is registered in the UNESCO list. The church San Matteo appears almost mystical; it stems from the Middle Ages and thrones on the rock over the town. This masterpiece also was damaged at the earthquake. Although the church San Matteo is a symbol of Scicli, it is ruinous and closed because of that. So nature takes stronger and stronger possession of it.

Necessarily worth seeing is the Beneventano palace which stems from the 18th century. Almost a bit scaring sculptures decorate the façade and balconies of this building. Grotesque frescos, over dimensional fantasy heads and almost abstract: the statue of Saint Joseph. It is told that these bizarre faces shall keep away unwanted guests and conquerors.

Like everywhere on Sicily the Oleander here blossoms in all colours, from red over rose to a moderate claret. In summer the little town seems to be extinct, because the inhabitants escape to their houses at the sea because of the merciless heat. Scicli is popular for sweet pastry; a detour to a bakery is necessarily recommendable.

Idea for an excursion:
Visit of the castle Donnafugata, followed by a tour through Scicli and as an ending a visit in Noto, the open-air baroque museum.

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