Sciacca | 📷 Fontanieri Matteo @scattoemidiverto

This unspoiled seaside town of Sciacca, 65km (41 miles) northwest of Agrigento, is still engaged in the pursuits that have occupied its citizens for millennia: fishing in the waters between Sicily and Africa and ministering to patrons its thermal spa. Residents of ancient Selunis, just down the coast, came here to soak in the warm, mineral rich waters that emerge from deep beneath nearby Monte San Calogero, and the thermal station still provides a full regimen of treatments. The town that climbs the hillside above the busy fishing port is flat roofed and whitewashed, a legacy of many years of Arab habitation. Among the later structures rising above the warren of little stepped streets are the 17th century Duomo and the simpler, 12th century church of San Nicolò La Latina.

The Steripinto is now the symbol of Sciacca with an interesting facade with diamond-shaped stone facing, it is a small fortified palace in the Catalan Gothic style.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele continues into the central Piazza Angelo Scandaliato, shaded with trees. From here there is a a view of the pastel colored old houses rising in the terraces above the fishing harbor. The former Collegio dei Gesuiti (now the Town Hall), begun in 1613, has an elegant courtyard, the second largest in Sicily, and a fine library with many ancient incunabula.

The Corso continues to the dilapidated Piazza Duomo where the duomo. The cathedral was founded by the Normans and rebuilt in the 1600s. The Baroque facade remains unfinished. The interior nave and side aisles feature various works of interest. The barrel vaulted nave is frescoed by the local artist Tommaso Rossi, with the Apocalypse and scenes from the life of Mary Magdelene. The chapel contains a lovely Renaissance marble altarpiece (1581) by Antonio Gagini, its walls are hung with evocative paintings of scenes from Christ’s Passion.

In Piazza Don Minzoni, next to the duomo, is the Museo Scaglione, a beautiful wunderkammer of paintings, coins, ceramics and objects d’art collected by Francesco Scaglione, a local 19th century nobleman.

The Corso continues to Piazza Friscia, in a pleasant part of the town, which has a shady 19th century public gardens with tropical plants. Via Agatocle leads past new theatre to the edge pf the cliff. Here the Nuovo Stabilimento Termale, a pink spa building in Art Nouveau style (1928-38), offered until recently mud-baths and thermal swimming-pools with a temperature of 32° C.

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