Conquered by the Arabs in 864, it became a royal city under the Normans. Totally rebuilt in pure Sicilian Baroque style after the 1693 earthquake, it presents today an impressive quantity of 17th century palaces that have made Scicli a masterpiece of the human creative genius of the late baroque period. Since 2002, the city is on the list of the Unesco World Heritage Sites.
The city is also notable for its religious parades that include “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, with a long religious procession through the city.
A decorated horse parade takes place in March, from Scicli to the neighbouring town of Donnalucata: la Cavalcata of San Giuseppe.
And the most spectacular religious festival, the La Madonna dei Milici occurs in May, commemorating the appearance of the Madonna on a white horse holding aloft a sword as she fights the saracens, two of which are under the horse hooves, She is described as “probably… the only armed Holy Virgin in the world.”
Scicli, in case you were wondering, is pronounced shi-kli!