Sciacca also Schiacca, is a town and comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in the province of Agrigento
Province of Agrigento
Agrigento is a province in the autonomous island region of Sicily in Italy. It has an area of 3,042 km², and a total population of 454,370...

 on the southwestern coast of Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. It has noteworthy views of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...



Thermae was founded in the 5th century BCE by the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, as its name imports, as a thermal spa for Selinunte
Selinunte is an ancient Greek archaeological site on the south coast of Sicily, southern Italy, between the valleys of the rivers Belice and Modione in the province of Trapani. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis...

, whose citizens came there to bathe in the sulphurous springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 of Mount San Calogero, which rises up behind the town. We have no account of the existence of a town on the site during the period of the independence of Selinunte, though there is little doubt that the thermal waters would always have attracted some population to the spot. Nor even under the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 did the place attain to anything like the same importance with the northern Thermae
Termini Imerese
Termini Imerese is a town and comune in the province of Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily, southern Italy.-Ancient:The site where the town now sits has been populated since prehistoric times, as many archeologial excavations have shown through the years...

; and there is little doubt that Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 is mistaken in assigning the rank of a colonia
Colonia (Roman)
A Roman colonia was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of Roman city.-History:...

to the southern instead of the northern town of the name. Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 mentions the waters ; and they are again noticed in the Itineraries under the name of Aquae Labodes or Labrodes.

Sciacca itself owes its origins to the Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s, who settled there in the 9th century. Although the origins of the town's name have been much debated, it is thought to have come from the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 word "xacca" (شاقة), meaning "water". The Saracens built the original walls and laid out the street grid, which was later expanded by the Normans.

A royal city which had remained faithful to Manfred of Sicily
Manfred of Sicily
Manfred was the King of Sicily from 1258 to 1266. He was a natural son of the emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen but his mother, Bianca Lancia , is reported by Matthew of Paris to have been married to the emperor while on her deathbed.-Background:Manfred was born in Venosa...

 during the Angevine
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 invasion, 1268 it was besieged by Charles I of Anjou and surrendered the following year. After the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

, it established itself as a free commune
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

. During the Aragonese-Angevine wars it was besieged numerous times, after which the Peralta family took possession of it and obtained by the king of Sicily the right to mint coins. In the following centuries the town was at the center 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
Regia Aeronautica
The Italian Royal Air Force was the name of the air force of the Kingdom of Italy. It was established as a service independent of the Royal Italian Army from 1923 until 1946...

 (Royal Air Force) had a base near Sciacca.

Main sights

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:
  • the Cathedral of Maria SS. del Soccorso (12th century, rebuilt in 1685)
  • the Castle of the Counts Luna. Of the Old Castle 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 Neo-Gothic style
  • Palazzo Perollo (15th century)


Sciacca's festivals include the Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

, celebrated during the week before the beginning of Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

 (February). The highlight of the festival is the parade of bizarre figures mounted on floats, famous throughout Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 for their gaudy expressions.


The economy of Sciacca is mainly based on agriculture, fishing and related food processing industry and tourism.

Sister cities

Salvador de Bahia, since 2001 Kırşehir
Kırşehir, formerly Macissus and Justinianopolis, is a city in Turkey. It is the capital district of the Kırşehir Province. According to 2000 census, population of the district is 121,947 of which 105,826 live in the city of Kırşehir.-History:The history of Kırşehir dates back to the Hittites...

, since 2011 Mustafakemalpaşa
Mustafakemalpaşa is the main town of Bursa Province in the Marmara region of Turkey.-History:The ancient Hittite name of the county was Kirmasti Kremastre, under the Kingdom of Bithynia. Around 300AD the town became important when a Christian Bishop made this his regional centre...

, since 2011


  • Tommaso Fazello
    Tommaso Fazello
    Tommaso Fazello was an Italian Dominican friar, historian and antiquarian. He is known as the father of Sicilian history. He is the author of the first printed history of Sicily: De Rebus Siculis Decades Duae, published in Palermo in 1558 in Latin...

    , was born in Sciacca. Authored the first printed history of Sicily
    Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

     De Rebus Siculis Decades Duae, published in Palermo in 1558
  • Giovanni Antonio Medrano
    Giovanni Antonio Medrano
    Giovanni Antonio Medrano was an Italian architect.Born in Sciacca, Sicily, he became a brigadier in the army of Charles of Bourbon, while he was king of the Two Sicilies. Following the Battle of Bitonto in 1734, Charles had Medrano construct a commemorative obelisk in Bitonto.In 1737, Charles...

    , one of the architects who designed the San Carlo
    Teatro di San Carlo
    The Real Teatro di San Carlo is an opera house in Naples, Italy. It is the oldest continuously active such venue in Europe.Founded by the Bourbon Charles VII of Naples of the Spanish branch of the dynasty, the theatre was inaugurated on 4 November 1737 — the king's name day — with a performance...

     opera house in Naples
    Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

     in 1737, was born in Sciacca.
  • Baroque liturgical composer Cataldo Amodei
    Cataldo Amodei
    Cataldo Amodei was a Sicilian Baroque musician. He was born in Sciacca and in 1685 was ordained as a priest; in the same year he became maestro di cappella at the church of San Paolo Maggiore, Naples...

     was born at Sciacca around 1650.
  • American singer on Bon Jovi aka John Bongiovi] father's side comes from Sciacca.
  • American baseball player Mike Piazza
    Mike Piazza
    Michael Joseph "Mike" Piazza ; born September 4, 1968) is an American former Major League Baseball catcher. He played in his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres and the Oakland Athletics....

     family origins are in Sciacca.
  • Johnny Dundee
    Johnny Dundee
    Johnny Dundee was a featherweight and junior lightweight boxer who fought from 1910 until 1932. Dundee was born Giuseppe Curreri in Sciacca, Sicily, but was raised in the United States....

    , world featherweight and Super featherweight champion of the 1920s, who immigrated to America after he was born in Sciacca.
  • Giuseppe Mario Bellanca
    Giuseppe Mario Bellanca
    Giuseppe Mario Bellanca was an Italian-American airplane designer and builder who created the first enclosed cabin monoplane in the United States in 1922. This aircraft is now on display at the National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.-Biography:He was born on March 19, 1886 in...

    , the airplane designer and builder who created the first monoplane in the United States with an enclosed cabin, was born in Sciacca, Italy.
  • The Costa family
    Costa (surname)
    Costa, sometimes Da Costa or da Costa, is an Italian , Portuguese and Catalan surname. And, because of immigration, is common in Brazil and Argentina...

    who ran many American underground facilities during the 1920s have origins from Sciacca.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.