The 13 must-do things in Sciacca

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Planning a trip to Sicily? Take the opportunity to stop off in the south and visit Sciacca!

Discover the charm of Sicily with a visit to Sciacca, in the province ofAgrigento. The town is renowned for its thermal baths, ceramics and port. Founded in the 5th century B.C. by the inhabitants of Selinunte, it came under Arab domination from 840 onwards, followed by the Normans and then the Bourbons.

Today, the town lives on tourism, thermal baths and its port. Visiting Sciacca allows you to discover its history and architecture, enjoy the beaches and landscape, and maybe even the thermal baths. So we’ve put together a list of the must-sees to get the most out of your visit to Sciacca!

1. The historic center

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You can start your visit to Sciacca at the 16th-century Porta San Salvatore on the west side. It is close to the Santa Marguerita church and the Carmine church. The Palermo Gate (1753) and the 16th-century San Calogero Gate are also worth a visit.

Sciacca is the city of ceramics, and you can see them adorning the buildings. Piazza Angelo Scandaliato is a must-see, in the heart of the old town, on a terrace overlooking the sea.

You’ll also discover medieval towers that bear witness to the past: we particularly recommend the Pardo and Campanari towers. Last but not least, don’t miss Italy’s many churches, each as beautiful as the next.

2. The port and fish market

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Sciacca is renowned for its fishing port, the second largest in Sicily after Mazara del Vallo. It is therefore a very important economic activity for the town and its inhabitants. Dominated by the old town, it’s a charming place to take great photos.

It’s also an opportunity to observe the boats and see the fishermen returning from the sea or preparing nets and boats. In fact, the fish market is very popular, with locals coming to buy crates of fresh fish as the fishermen arrive.

3. The Duomo

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It’s impossible to visit Sciacca without passing by the Duomo, in Piazza Duomo. This cathedral is also known as the Chiesa Madre or Basilica Maria Santissima Del Soccorso. Construction began in 1108, during the Norman period.

It was then restored in the 18th century, with the addition of Baroque elements. The interior is a must-see. The ceiling of the central nave is covered with frescoes. Scenes from the Apocalypse and the life of Santa Maria Maddalena can be contemplated.

4. The Enchanted Castle

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This strange site, the work of local artist Filippo Bentivegna (1888-1967), is a must-see in Sciacca. Castello Incantato is an open-air museum filled with over 3,000 sculptures of art brut. It’s quite astonishing to see all these busts of people in this Mediterranean garden overlooking the sea.

So don’t look for a castle, because there isn’t one! It’s really a garden of sculpted stones and caves. And before you go, find out more about the history of the artist, a solitary figure who spent much of his life sculpting these strange busts.

5. The palaces

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A visit to Sciacca is also an opportunity to admire the architecture of the palaces, former residences of the Sicilian nobility. The 15th-century Steripinto Palace, for example, was built in the Catalan Gothic-Renaissance style. It is also easily recognized by its « diamond-pointed » façade.

Palazzo Tagliavia di San Giacomo also dates from the 15th century. It can be seen on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, as can Palazzo Bertolino Tommasi. The latter is more recent, with its 19th-century neoclassical façade. Also worth a visit is Palazzo Inveges in Piazza Inveges, also in the historic center.

6. Thermal baths

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Sciacca’s thermal baths have been renowned since antiquity, making it Sicily’s oldest spa. The San Calogero steam caves atop Mount Kronio are said to have been discovered by Daedalus.

Sciacca’s sulphurous waters are indicated for treating dermatological and respiratory problems, rheumatism, arthritis… So if you’re looking for something to do in Sciacca, you could take advantage of the opportunity to treat yourself to a spa break!

7. Basilica of San Calogero

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The Basilica of San Calogero stands atop Mount San Calogero, in the Mount Kronio nature reserve. It owes its name to Saint Calogero, the town’s patron saint, who died in the grotto beneath the basilica.

This sanctuary was built in his honor in the early 16th century. Inside the basilica, a statue of San Calogero stands on the altar. The site offers a magnificent view of the town, the surrounding area and the sea.

8. Count Luna’s castle

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One of the most emblematic historic buildings to visit in Sciacca is the Castle of the Counts Luna. The castle ruins dominate the town along Via Conte Luna. This ancient fortress was the home of the Luna family, built in 1380 at the request of Guglielmo Peralta.

You can still see the walls and towers, including a cylindrical tower that has better survived the ravages of time. From here, you can enjoy a panoramic view from which to take beautiful photos.

9. Museums

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Photo credit: Facebook – Museo del Carnevale di Sciacca

The Museo Scaglione brings together works acquired during the lifetime of collector Francesco Scaglione (Sciacca 1859 – Rome 1938). It is located in the historic center, in Piazza Don Giovanni Minzoni, next to the famous Duomo cathedral.

Sciacca is also famous for its carnival, the oldest in Sicily and one of the most famous in Italy. You can visit the Canarval Museum, entirely dedicated to the event. It is located in Via Fratelli Belanca.

Lovers of vintage toys (1880-1980) can look back on a nostalgic visit to the Museo del Giocattolo. Last but not least, discover the Casa Museo del Sapone, a small soap museum displaying period tools. It lies in the countryside, surrounded by olive groves, to the north-west of the town.

10. The beaches

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If you’re visiting Sciacca in summer, take advantage of the opportunity to discover the most beautiful beaches in the area. The first one Generation Voyage recommends is called Capo San Marco, about 8 kilometers from the historic center. Others are closer to the old town, such as Tonnara beach or the white sandy beach of Foggia.

A little further afield, you can also put down your towel at Lido Salus, on the Torre del Barone beach, equipped with deckchairs and parasols. Finally, lovers of water sports such as kite surfing and windsurfing can head for San Giorgio beach.

11. Capo San Marco nature reserve

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Photo credit: Facebook – Le Foto Di Sciacca

If you’re looking for something to do in Sciacca, then enjoy the beauty of nature. The Capo San Marco nature reserve is perfect for a walk by the sea. Admire the Mediterranean flora, coves and sunsets. An unspoilt, wild and peaceful site to discover between the beaches of Capo San Marco and Baia Renella.

12. The Caricatore cave

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The Caricatore cave is an unusual and interesting visit to make in Sciacca. These caves, dug into the ground, are thought to be very old. In the Middle Ages, they were very important as grain silos. Their structure is quite unusual, funnel-shaped, and grain was poured in from the top. A must-see near the port, on Piazza Dogana.

13. A boat trip

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A visit to Sciacca also means enjoying a breathtaking backdrop: the Mediterranean. When you’re admiring that crystal-clear water, it’s hard not to want to enjoy it. Well, you can do something about that! You can rent a boat in Sciacca.

What’s more, departing from the port city, you can discover some magnificent places. Agrigento, the Scala dei Turchi, Marsala or Trapani– sailing on the water offers you plenty of possibilities. And whatever you choose, one thing’s for sure: you’ll have an unforgettable time!

Find a boat to rent in Sciacca

How to get to Sciacca

By plane

The easiest way to visit Sciacca is by plane. There are direct flights from several French cities to Palermo and Catania. There are also flights to Trapani, but with a stopover. You can check the best deals with a flight comparator such as Skyscanner, depending on your availability. As soon as you arrive at the airport, you can rent a car to drive yourself.

By car

By car, Sciacca is about 60 km from Agrigento, 100 km from Trapani and 100 km from Palermo. This means you can explore Sciacca’s surroundings with greater autonomy. What’s more, you can rent a car from the airport to get to the city, and then drive around freely as you wish.

By bus

Buses run between Sciacca and the main towns, as well as Palermo airport. See Autostraporti Salvatore Lumia for Trapani, then Autolinee Lumia and Gallo for other destinations.

Where to stay in Sciacca?

The best place to stay is in the historic heart of the city, so you can enjoy all its charm. You’ll be right on the spot for the main sights, and a stone’s throw from bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for a quieter place to stay, there’s also accommodation on the outskirts, and some by the sea. To find the best accommodation deals, consider using a hotel comparator. Alternatively, you can find what you’re looking for on Airbnb.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Sciacca