Sciacca, Province of Agrigento, Sicily, Italy

History | Geography | Main sites | Culture | Diaspora | Economy

🇮🇹 Sciacca (Θέρμαι; Thermae Selinuntinae, Thermae Selinuntiae, Thermae, Aquae Labrodes, Aquae Labodes) is a town and comune in the province of Agrigento on the south-western coast of Sicily, southern Italy. It has views of the Mediterranean Sea.


History Thermae was founded in the 5th century BC by the Greeks, as its name suggests, as a thermal spa for Selinunte, 30 km distant, whose citizens came there to bathe in the sulphurous springs, still much valued for their medical properties, of Mount San Calogero which rises up behind the town. There is no account of the existence of a town on the site during the period of the independence of Selinunte, though the thermal waters would always have attracted some population to the spot. It seems to have been much frequented in the time of the Romans. At a later period they were called the Aquae Labodes or Larodes, under which name they appear in the Itineraries. Pliny was most likely mistaken in assigning the rank of a colonia to the southern, rather than northern, town of the same name. Strabo mentions the waters (τὰ ὕδατα τὰ Σελινούντια.)

The origin of the town's name has been much debated, with Latin "ex acqua", as a reference to the springs of thermal water of the area, or Arabic "Syac", meaning bath, and al Saqquah, dating back to the cult of the Syrian god "Shai al Quaaum", as possibilities.

The city walls, the bastions and the Old Castle owe their existence to Roger the Great Count.

A royal city that had remained faithful to Manfred of Sicily during the Angevine invasion, by 1268 A.D. Sciacca was besieged by Charles I of Anjou and surrendered the following year. After the Sicilian Vespers, it established itself as a free commune. During the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the city was besieged numerous times; the final engagement of the 20-year war took place in 1302, when a French army failed to capture the city.

Following the Vespers era, the Peralta family took possession of it and obtained from the king of Sicily the right to mint coins. In the following centuries, the town was at the centre of bloody feuds between rival baronial families (the Luna, of Aragonese origin, and the Perollo, of Norman stock), which nearly halved its population. In 1647, the impoverished town was the seat of an anti-Spanish rebellion.

During World War II, the Italian Regia Aeronautica (Royal Air Force) had a base near Sciacca.


Geography The municipality borders Caltabellotta, Menfi, Ribera and Sambuca di Sicilia.


Main sites Sciacca still retains much of its medieval layout, which divided the town into quarters, each laid out on a strip of rock descending toward the sea. Sciacca has several points of interest, including: • Cathedral of Maria SS. del Soccorso (12th century, rebuilt in 1685) • Castle of the Counts Luna; scarce remains can be still seen • Church of Santa Margherita • Chiesa del Carmine • Church of San Michele (1371, rebuilt in the 17th century) • Church of Santa Maria delle Giummare • Palazzo Steripinto • Palazzo Tagliavia (11th century), in neogothic style • Palazzo Perollo (15th century)


Culture Sciacca's festivals include the Carnival, celebrated during the week before the beginning of Lent (February). The highlight of the festival is the parade of bizarre figures mounted on floats, famous throughout Sicily for their gaudy expressions. The local television stations are TRS Tele Radio Sciacca and RMK Tele Radio Monte Kronio.


Diaspora Starting around the turn of the 20th century, a number of residents of the Sciacca area emigrated to Norristown, Pennsylvania and the North End of Boston.

The Boston-based descendants of Sciacca, especially those from fishing families, have celebrated the Festival of the Madonna del Soccorso since 1910.

The Norristown-based descendants of Sciacca, through the local M.S.S. Club, maintain both traditions and devotions to the Madonna del Soccorso. The M.S.S. holds a communion breakfast in February and a large festival (often called simply "The Feast") in August in celebration of the miracles performed by the Madonna herself in Sciacca.


Economy The economy of Sciacca is mainly based on agriculture, fishing and related food industries, as well as tourism.

Rome Time 
Rome Time
Image: Adobe Stock Valery Bareta #178878722

Sciacca has a population of over 40,569 people. Sciacca also forms part of the wider Agrigento Province which has a population of over 474,493 people. It is also a part of the larger Sicily Region. Sciacca is situated near Agrigento.

Twin Towns, Sister Cities Sciacca has links with:

🇮🇹 Aprilia, Italy 🇹🇷 Kırşehir, Turkey 🇹🇷 Mustafakemalpaşa, Turkey 🇧🇷 Salvador, Brazil, since 2001
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Sciacca is: -166.917,-37.5

Locations Near: Sciacca 13.0833,37.5

🇮🇹 Mazara del Vallo 12.583,37.65 d: 47.1  

🇮🇹 Agrigento 13.586,37.303 d: 49.5  

🇮🇹 Palermo 13.362,38.115 d: 72.6  

🇮🇹 Trapani 12.515,38.019 d: 76.3  

🇮🇹 Caltanissetta 14.063,37.49 d: 86.5  

🇮🇹 Enna 14.267,37.55 d: 104.5  

🇮🇹 Caltagirone 14.5,37.233 d: 128.7  

🇮🇹 Vittoria 14.533,36.95 d: 142.2  

🇮🇹 Ragusa 14.732,36.926 d: 159.4  

🇮🇹 Modica 14.761,36.859 d: 164.8  

Antipodal to: Sciacca -166.917,-37.5

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 18027.8  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 17406.1  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 17340.1  

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 17223  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 13532.5  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 13449.1  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 13435.9  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 13431.1  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 13430.7  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 13408.3  

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